Reservation in the Private Sector
An independent India found that a lot of millions were struggling facing poverty, social disabilities and backwardness. It was necessary to provide them a series of protective measures in the areas of education, employment and several other fields with a view to main-streaming the people of certain castes and communities. They were basically those who were the victims of social deprivation and ostracism.
The reservation was given to the socially backward classes on the assumption that they are economically backward too. This was a legal and constitutional privilege which was given to these people for a short period. We are now at the drawn of 61st year of our Independence. Economic map of India in other fields has changed tremendously, but there has been a slow move as regards socio-economic change. There is acute illiteracy among the socially backward classes even today. They are unable to get jobs in the absence of proper education and skill. Mere reservation, without making them capable, did not solve the problem. The posts reserved for them are generally being de-reserved for filling up the deficiency and going to the persons of general category. The educational upliftment is more meaningful than reservation alone. The policy of reservation has been ineffective and has become cause of our declining working efficiency in the absence of useful education to the people of these classes. Till this day, no government in any of the states or at the centre has made concrete efforts in this direction in the last 60 years. The worst sufferers have been the poor belonging to socially backward classes. The political parties are also blamed for stagnation of social status of those people, and they tried to keep them backward to keep their vote banks intact. Some of the parties as well as renowned political leaders supported in bracketing more communities and castes in the “other backward classes” instead of finding out the way and means for those who are poor and not enjoying the taste of reservation for the jobs despite time lapse of 60 years. All through the last 60 years the politicians have been vying with one another in bracketing more communities and castes in the “Other Backward Classes” not with the holy purpose of raising the standard of living of the classes concerned, but with the sole aim of ensuring assured vote banks. We saw the massive student disturbances in the country under the V. P. Singh regime, when more communities were being brought within the circuit of reservation. Youngsters struggling for jobs on the basis of merit felt deprivation as their meritocracy was dumped consequent on induction of reservation for other Backward classes, they were experiencing injustice for them by the politicians, who were doing this merely for their popularity. There was mass criticism against this policy at that time as it was not very much in the interest of the nation. The worst sufferer were the poor belonging to those castes which were not enjoying any kind of reservation. Their position became worst for getting job after the reservation for other backward classes was brought into force. The cries of those who called for reservation on the economic basis fell on deaf ears.
The talented youth of general category started diverting towards private sector where efficiency is weighed for recruitment and promotion. The brilliant youth of all the categories was accepted gracefully by private sector. Such entry into private sector increased day-by-day because of need of efficient workers in the industries. The industrialists, who had been looking for such a lot for a long time, experienced quite a gratification after getting them in their organisation. They started better production through their efficient functioning. The efficiency really matters in the modern age, when maximum trade and commerce is being carried out at global level. India is also looking towards that and its efforts are on for making global image keeping in view the changed scenario of the world. There is no doubt that India is progressing very fast. We want to emerge as a force of economic power in the world. The time has come when there is a need for upgrading the skill of the people working in the private sector to enable them to face the challenges ahead. The induction of reservation for backward classes at this juncture in the private sector will not be much credible. In fact, it will create delirious agitation and will ultimately work to downgrade the efficiency of private sector which will be very much harmful for a country like India, which is already in the race of becoming a super power.
There is a voice from many politicians for giving reservation to the people of backward classes in the private sector. The UPA Government headed by congress has initiated an affirmative action for reservation in the private sector to fulfil the aspirations of people of socially backward classes. The Government expressed further that it would initiate a dialogue with other political parties, industries and other concerning bodies on how best private sector could fulfil the need of the people of backward classes. But the corporate India has opposed reservation in the private sector on the plea that the efficiency is the foremost requirement in the private sector to enable them to compete in the market within the country and outside. They are not willing to compromise with efficiency. Their contention is very clear that a company can not survive if productivity is low. Many enterprises have come forward stressing the requirement of good education, right training for upgrading skills and liberal system for financial assistance to all the people of backward community instead of reservation for recruitment in private sector.
It is obvious that corporate India cannot compromise on merit. Those who have built their enterprises, having gone through an ordeal by fire, survive just because they have a dependable and efficient workforce to carry on different tasks. Handing over such tasks that require technical skill, managerial ability, initiative, dedication and perseverance to new recruits on the basis of mere caste label, without ascertaining whether the candidates can prove themselves equal to the task assigned to them would be unfair. It is a matter of good productivity, profit and competition within and outside the country. That can be possible only when there are efficient and skilled employees in the private sector.
Reservation will kill the merit, competitiveness, and interest of the business enterprises. It is high time that the country had a sincere and thoroughgoing debate on the entire issue of reservation. There are diverse opinions as certain vested interests are keen on perpetuating reservation. There is no godfather for the millions of the poor among the so-called high castes who have been marginalised because of reservation policy. Seeing the complete scenario of our economic position irrespective of the caste one belongs to, we should maintain the view of empowerment of all the needy in all communities by assisting them financially for upgrading their efficiency and not by providing reservation for recruitment. We should not surrender meritocracy for the sake of vote-bank politics. The time has come to take the hard look at the entire gamut of reservation. Let’s eschew politics in this regard for the wider interests of our motherland. We should always accept truth and reality and follow the efficiency based policy which is the need of modern time. The new generation should come forward to decide as to how India can do better and how its dream of becoming world power can come true.