Sunday, May 21, 2006

Struggle for the fittest...

The Congress government, that unexpectedly returned to power, seemed to be doing everything right with stalwarts of the ilks of Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram and Montek Singh Ahluwalia. With the passing, or the in-process-passing of the quota bill, that seeks to increase the reservation for OBC’s, things seem to be going just the opposite way.

Some facts that I came to know of while going through an interview between Karan Thapar and the home minister, Arjun Singh are :-

1. The NSSO, a government appointed body in its research in 1999(its latest research) says that 23.5 per cent of all university seats are already with the OBCs.

2. A study done by the IITs shows that 50 per cent of the IIT seats for the SCs and STs remain vacant and for the remaining 50 per cent, 25 per cent are the candidates, who even after six years fail to get their degrees.

3.Looking at the Delhi University, between 1995 and 2000, just half the seats for under-graduates at the Scheduled Castes level and just one-third of the seats for under-graduates at the Scheduled Tribes level were filled. All the others went empty, unfilled.

4. Fifty years after the reservations were made, statistics show, according to The Hindustan Times, that overall in India, only 16 per cent of the places in higher education are occupied by SCs and STs. The quota is 22.5 per cent, which means that only two-thirds of the quota is occupied. One third is going waste, it is being denied to other people.

All these clearly mean that the quota that we already have is underutilized by the sections for whom it is meant. Then ,why does the government have to provide more opportunities when they are not likedly to be availed..

As a result of the protests by students and doctors (against quota at medical colleges) , the government has been forced to consider an alternative plan. The government proposes now,with huge criticism and protests coming from students and other literati,not to reduce the seats for the non-reserved categories and build infrastructure to add more seats to implement its quota legislation.

This plan if implemented is going to cost the exchequer a whopping Rs 8000 crores. To support one section, unnecessarily as we find out, is the government going to overburden the other sections of society. Will the non-reserved have to pay a price for that tag.

What surprises us most is that the bill was passed without a glitch. More than bothering about development measures that need to be undertaken, the government seems more bothered about making sure that it retains the throne in the next elections.This vicious cycle is the biggest roadblock that we as a nation face today, the multi-party parliamentary system, where each party is fighting for it's own place and it's own good, is proving to be a liability to the biggest democracy in the world.


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