Reservation should have been a one-time benefit quota, but its beneficiaries enjoy fruits from womb to tomb for generations
During my juvenile days, my father used to always reprimand me for not being too serious with regard to my studies, he used to always quote, “Education is the only wealth which no one can steal from you”. Time has passed and I have grown up as a man now. I have started to earn my living using education as a tool in teaching and learning professions. But over a period of time, I have started to realise how genuine benefits of hard work in education are being stolen from us under the smokescreen of reservation quotas in broad daylight and nobody is blinking an eye about this gross injustice. The recently declared JKAS results are testimony to it as more than half of the selected candidates have been selected under the reserved quota like SC, ST, OSC, ALC, RBA, EWS, etc. Every now and then the government is subtracting a dipping share of open merit candidates in government jobs by adding new categories like EWS being the recent one. Leave aside how these EWS (economically weaker section) certificates are being accorded to undeserving candidates through administrative malpractices. Let’s dwell deep into the growing menace of reservation quota.
Let’s take up the case of the RBA category. The RBA status has become a sacred tag for villages that have been blessed with it decades back. No administration is daring to revive their status, when so much development has been done in these years, instead of reviving the progress of backward areas to add them in forward areas our government is doing the cart before the horse by adding new villages to backward areas from forward quota when so much of money is being spent on the developmental works of rural areas under different centre flagship schemes like MGNREGA, PMGSY, etc. for road connectivity, rural electrification to basic facilities like water supply, nothing has been left untouched in development of rural areas. Digital connectivity has circumvented every barrier, even areas close to the Line of Control like Tanghdar have internet connectivity, yet we have backward areas here.
From a broader perspective, I am unable to understand what it takes to be declared a backward area, if it is an isolated area with no electrification, no road connectivity, and no digital connectivity, then I am sorry to say no village qualifies to be backward area here in Kashmir. The irony is that we have villages settled along the national highway, yet they are backward areas and residents of these areas continue to reap the benefits of it without giving a sniff of it to others.
Being a reserved category candidate is a blessing in disguise in terms of benefits one enjoys in the contemporary era of ‘dog eating dog’ competition, unlike open merit candidates who have to wander from pillar to post to avail of some government job and virtually have to create something out of nothing for it, The reserved category candidates have everything readymade with less competition. Also, they can figure in an open merit list while the reverse is not possible for OM candidates. It accounts for gross meritocratic injustice for open merit candidates when a candidate fails to secure a seat in the JKAS list after getting 1075 points while his friend gets selected on mere 990 points as he is blessed with the EWS certificate when both were preparing together under the same roof in Delhi for one year.
The reservation quota should have been a one-time benefit quota, but its beneficiaries continue to enjoy its fruits from womb to tomb for generations. Imagine a person who secured a medical seat in the reservation quota and then got selected as a doctor or professor on the same reserved seat. Now he is a settled man living in a posh residence, enjoying the luxury of elite people, but his children still enjoy the benefits of RBA even though they are much better settled now as compared to their father.
Policymakers should take cognizance of this issue that the majority of families settled in the outskirts of cities and towns are residents of far-flung areas, who have shifted their base after getting a good government job at the behest of reservation quota. Now the same people are not ready to serve in these far-flung areas, on whose reserved quota they get selected. It hurts when you are elbowed out of a race not by someone who is more gifted and talented than you but by someone who figures nowhere in race. Most reserved category candidates pop their heads up like a hydra when it comes to availing benefits from the government sector; otherwise, they feel shame in disclosing their category status.
Why is our administration turning a blind eye towards this monster called reservation, which is snatching away the rights of genuine and deserving people? In the 21st century when technology has enveloped the whole world into a global village no one can claim discrimination on availing the benefits from it. We need to create a level playing field for meritocracy to flourish otherwise this whole saga accounts for discrimination. The first thing the new government should do is to declassify villages enjoying the RBA legacy for the last five decades otherwise this discrimination of social injustice will continue.
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