To: Hon. President of India, Hon. Prime Minister of India, HRD Minister

This petition is in response to the proposal for 27% reservation quota in favor of the backward classes by HRD Minister Arjun Singh.

This letter voices the strong opposition to this recent proposal, and is not by any means, must be seen as an evidence of contempt towards the SC/ST/OBC. In the form of this letter, we attempt to initiate the realization of the major flaws in the whole system.

To do so, we require to carefully examine the legal, economical and the logical aspects as to why these quota reservations could pose a major threat to the well being of our country.

Need for Reservation- Reality or Myth?
The basic motive was to give the students belonging to the SC/ST/OBC equal opportunities because of their social disadvantages and lack of resources & exposure.

We need to ask ourselves: Has this motive been accomplished by the said reservation quotas?? Ask any doctor or engineer who has graduated with the tag of 'quota' and it will be clear that the procedure has failed to achieve genuine equality, depriving us from the Fundamental Right to Equality.

Constitution and Reservation:
Where articles 15 and 16 ensure every citizen freedom and equality before law, the unpractical provisions for reservation only highlight the contradictions in the machinery of the government.

Reservations were a part of the constitution when it was released in 1950. However, that was supposed to be a temporary measure and was to last for 10 years.

Part XVI of the Constitution makes certain reservations for the SC/ ST/ OBC for their election in the Legislative Assemblies and the House of People. Article 334 expressly provides that the reservations and special representations will cease after a period of fifty years. An Amendment (79th amendment w.e.f. 25-1-2000) to the Constitution in 1999 extended this time frame of fifty years to sixty years. Is this justified? Isn't this detrimental to the interests of the general members of the country who will now consider themselves unfortunate for not being tagged as "depressed" classes.

More than 50 years later the reservations continue to exist and have only become higher with passing years. The politicians, in an attempt to woo more votes from the public, continue to reserve more and more seats for SCs/ STs/ OBCs. This makes us feel as if the government covers its vested interests and political peripherals in the large cloak of democracy.

Certain Consequence of Reservation Regime:
The following are the sure consequences in case if the reservation regime is passed inspite of major oppositions by the IITs, and IIMs:

• The caste-hatred in the country will increase, leading to aggravated tensions in the IIT and IIM class rooms.

• Youngsters will lose faith in the democratic system of the country. If vote banks are so important to our politicians then we assure them that they'd lose a considerable part of it. We will not stay unplugged.

• The benefit of reservation is always lapped up by the quota-students coming into the creamy layer, not being entitled for reservation, while candidates who may be more meritorious miss out on those seats. Such candidates might decide to go abroad, considering their encroachment of opportunities, to accomplish their further studies. This results in India losing talented people, who could have been the country's future.

• The quota system, created to facilitate the poor, ends up wrongly being utilized by children of rich people, ministers and IAS officers belonging to SC/ST/OBC. The government and the ministers need to sit and carefully analyze the possible effects on their moves.

• Quota helps students secure seat, not degree. This is a hard truth.

• Brain Drain- With the reservation regime being proposed with ease and pomp, most of the parents are pushing their children to pursue their academics from institutions abroad sans the inequality and the so called privileged treatment confined only to the "depressed" classes. This will result in a major brain drain. There will be a time when we'll have to have reservation.

• It is a well known fact that Where there is a Will, there is a way. If a certain member of the so called SC/ ST/ OBCs is really deserving and hard working then he/ she will surely rise through the ranks. There are already a lot of opportunities. People don't ask you now whether or not you are a member of SC/ ST/ OBCs if you're hard working enough. Then why should the SC/ ST/ OBCs come out and expressly mention their caste details in order to be treated in a privileged manner? Dr. Ambedkar, too, worked his way to the top in an era that was plagued with inequality and untouchability sans the reservation and quota policy. It is surprising to not to know any famous person who has reached the heights that Dr. Ambedkar himself has reached inspite of the quota tainted five decades. This is the biggest failure of the concept of Reservation.

• Most quota students are not able to meet the standards of IITs, IIMs or other Indian institutes which are now globally acknowledged. These places of learning will have to bring down their standards and compromise on quality, which will, as an end-result affect the efficient development of the nation. It remains to be seen if the politicians consider their vote banks as important or the economic development of their country and the integrity of the constitution.

• The placements of these revered institutes too bear the brunt.

Some statistics that highlight that Reservation Regime will lead nowhere:

• The majority of quota students have failed to achieve even average performance:
o At IIM-Lucknow in 2004-05, large number of quota students failed to clear PG prog-I
o At GSVM Medical College, Kanpur, 50%admitted under quota flunk this year,35% get grace marks.
o 60% students fail to clear BSc exam,50% BCom and 40% BA under Allahabad University.

• The government might be pushing for reservations for OBCs, but as things stand on the ground, even the 22.5% quota (SC/ST) in higher educations remains unfilled.

• DATA collected by HRD Ministry for 2003-04 (latest figures available) show that the total number of students in higher educational institutes-a little over one crore-only 16% are SCs/ST. Which clearly means even with the existing quota, 6.5% of reserved seats are going vacant.

• The ministry's data on admission says:
o In classes 1 to 5, as many as 27% of students are from SC/ST category.
o In higher classes, heir number reduces - so that only 24% SC/ST students remain in class 5 to 8, and just 19.1% in class 12.
o Of the 1489 seats in IIMs, 16.4% are filled up by SC/ST students.
o In IITs,it is about 18%.

• Even now more than 60% of the students, whose performance are discussed in the Student Review Committee meetings of IIT Delhi, belong to the reserved categories.

o The cumulative grade point average of these students hovers in 5-6.5 range.
o This despite the fact that a one year preparatory course in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics is conducted for them.

• Moreover, its not just academics that suffer in the hands of reservation. We feel that government is dragging down the level of premier institutions instead of trying to bring them up to international levels.

Alternative solutions to the hike in quota:

• The number of seats in premier institutes may be increased, but then the quality of education should not be hampered, to attain which, it will be necessary to increase the teaching faculty as well along with the infrastructure.

• The unavailability of seats is not as big a problem to the SC/ST/OBC as their financial crunch is. Assistance may be provided in the forms of scholarships.

• The expenditure on higher and technical education is 0.4% and 0.1% of GDP, respectively. This should be raised.

• Progeny of those who have got a position through quota should be denied the same privilege. One 'quota-case' in every family is sufficient.

• The misuse of the quota by the powerful and the rich should be taken care of. Proper investigations and checks must be undertaken by the ministers who so loudly advocate the reservation regime.

• The level of primary and secondary education must be boosted. All the problems start from primary level itself, if a student does not have a strong base, then he cannot complete higher education successfully.

• The government should make efforts to uplift backward classes by strengthening the educational base of these classes at the primary level. Caste does not define how intelligent a person is. Rather it is differences in resources and exposure.

• The government should start some campaigns to ensure that students from all sections of society are encouraged to pursue studies atleast till 12th standard.

• Reservations in premier institutes are of no use unless creamy layer of students is kept out of it.

Merit V/s Quota
* FICCI president Y K Modi on September 4, 2004: "No where in the world is there reservation in the private sector".

* CII president Anand Mahindra on May 31, 2004: "The concept of reservation without reference to merit could have a distorting effect on the operations of the private sector".

* Ratan Tata: "Though I do not want to comment on it (reservation), it is bad in some way, it will tend to divide the country into different groups." " While uplift of socially backward classes is important, merit is an important aspect and should not be compromised"

* Assocham president K Sanghi on June 14, 2004: "It will have a far reaching impact on the industry as it may completely destroy the meritocracy in such units and bring inefficiency".

* FICCI president Y K Modi on September 04, 2004: "We oppose it as the move is against industrialisation and will lead to job reduction".

* NASSCOM president Kiran Karnik on May 31, 2004: "It will completely destroy the meritocracy in the private sector".

* Pune-based Alfa Laval India's MD Satish Tondon on August 08, 2004: "If I employ 1,000 staff, 5 per cent reservation would mean I have to recruit 50 people I may not need".

In the end we'd like to mention that the upliftment of socially backward classes is important, merit is an important aspect and should not be compromised. If the quota system has failed to serve the purpose till now, how is it going to help by increasing it?

We, the citizens of India, and the youth of our beloved country, place the truth and facts before you in the perennial hope that you'll not ignore the practical aspects of this serious issue. It is the hope and faith in you that makes us write this letter to you, please don't betray this hope, Dr. Manmohan Singh. Students are the future of the country.

In order to realize our Hon. President's Vision 2020, it is primary for the society and the government to now think deeper and with more practicality, so that we can have an economically and politically developed India in our near future. We hope that the ministry considers our plea for our Right to Equality.

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The Reservation Quota Policy as proposed by HRD Minister Arjun Singh petition to To: Hon. President of India, Hon. Prime Minister of India, HRD Minister was written by Atul Deshmukh and is in the category Government at GoPetition.