Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Reservation for the unreserved ?

Read a telling article about reservations (affirmative action) in The Hindu today. Tamil Nadu has started the process admitting students to its 12 medical colleges by sending out call letters. Of the 1186 available seats under the single window system, 818 have been reserved for various backward communities and the rest 368 have been made available for open competition. A look at the call letter distribution reveals the remarkable progress made by the backward communities. By the time admissions are over, they would have garnered more than 85% of the seats available under 'open competition'. Less than 40 students from the so called fforward communities will get in to medical colleges this year in Tamil Nadu.

So, of the 1186 available seats, 1146 (96.6%) would go to the reserved communities and a mere 40 (3.4%) to the forward communities. In this scenario, Does reservation make any sense ? For whom ?

It would be a worthwhile attempt to further analyze as to who is really getting these coveted medical seats.
  • Is it the deserving backward class kids or the creamy layer of the society ? What's the family income ? What's the educational level of the parents ? etc.,
  • Where do they come from ? (City / Rural)
  • Which school ? (Private / Public)
  • What's the gender ratio ? (Boy /Girl)

Here are my questions:
  1. Does India need reservations ? How long ? In what form ?
  2. Who should be eligible for it ?
IMO, Affirmative action/s are still required, but require major re-calibration.
  • Employ filters: Proper filtering mechanisms should be instituted such that only the deserving get the benefits. For starters, I do not consider Dr. Ramadass / Dr. Anbumani Ramadass et. al as backward even though they might officially belong to a backward community. (MGR tried instituting financial criteria but failed)
  • Catch them early: Concerted efforts should be made to nurture deserving kids from the early stages of schooling. Efforts should be made to get them into private schools through grants and scholarships. This will prepare them for competition later.
  • Spread the wealth: In the current scenario, the creamy layer repeatedly garners benefits multiple times for generations. By limiting availment, benefits will reach the deserving in a much broader scale.


  1. Sad state of affairs, Noble cause gone bad...I feel.

    I don't think we need reservations anymore. Enough is enough.!

    Filters - Not sure any politician would have the spine to put it in place.

    Catch them early - Good Idea.

    Spread the wealth - Who doesn't have wealth these days.? Agreed thre will always be that group of deserving/poor people.!

  2. It's certain amazing what you can find with Google! Hope you are doing well, along with the rest of the family!

  3. Narayanan

    There is still lot of poverty around in India and education is the key to bring them out of the hole.

    I personally know cases where the education (simple graduation) of a single indiviual making HUGE difference for the entire family.

    I agree with you that politicians will not change the system as they belong to the creamy layer.

    but.. எனக்கு நம்பிக்கை இருக்கிறது...

    Thanks for visiting my blog..

  4. Hi Ram,

    Lot have been talked about this system, we all know its not fair,what is required by the system is not clear ( rather should I say, we all know ), but isn't it the question "who is going to bell the cat", I dont know why we are talking about it in forums/blogs and not being able to bring it to the notice of the community (docile) who is hurt the most? I am not talking of my kids future here, but seems like its a never ending story, just like we still keep talking about the old freedom strugle when every Indian citizen has taken freedom for granted.
    I am not to comment on who should take the lead, is'nt it the big question, cause we tend to choose from what is available to us (be it by force or ....), we all have an ideal leader in our mind but the question is does he exists??? may be yes OR may be still we are dreaming about it and awaiting of an awtar who will bring all this disparity to an end.

    Well isn't there a requirement to get the UNFORTUNATE community to stick together and work towards a goal which can make things better for the sake of future INDIAN citizens.


  5. Sir,

    yep this is a nasty issue.
    my point is, all the so called backward should be given alll kindsa assitance except leverage in marks.

    why 90+ for FC? and mere pass malr for lower sections?

    are we not teaching the kids hard work does not pay? what kind of lesson is this?

    i belong to the so called backward community whose community leaders had the clout to catch up wit the higher ups in the govt to get our community declared as backward.
    nowadays if u ask me, the race is to get each and veery community declared as backward and try to squeeze benefits from the govt.

    as one fellow blogger put it. why this identity at all? its high time we removed this from govt records just like the way all transport corpn buses are nowadays named TNSTC.

    prev iously it used to be dheeran chinnamali, chozhan, pandian, cheran etc.

    u remember there was a riot in tirunelvel dts over a bus naming issue.

  6. KTS

    Thanks for visiting my blog..

    1) "Who's to bell the cat ?" is the BIG question.. IMO, existing group of politician won't...

    2) The reforms I mentioned in my post will not happen in my lifetime

    3) More and more groups will try to get their community added to the list..

    Prabhu Karthik

    Good meeting you at the bloggers meet.. I understand your feelings..

    I would like to see the affirmative programs reformed where by the truly under privileged sections of our society comes up..

    I agree with you that, the affirmative programs should give incentive for kids to compete equally and not have differential yard stick.. As you aptly put it.. We want to teach the kids 'Hard work does pay..'