Reality Check India

The Statesman article on quotas

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on August 31, 2006

Abi has posted this article about “History of TN Reservations” in his blog and in the other blog

This article appears in the online edition of The Statesman (read it here) 

In their study, “India Development and Participation” in 2002, it was Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and economist Jean Dreze who observed that a large proportion of the doctors in Tamil Nadu are “SC/ST, OBCs and women (about 50 per cent)”.  

RealityCheck: You dont have to be a Nobel laureate to figure it out. If you enforce by law that at a minimum 69% of graduating doctors belong to SC/ST/OBC – it is going to be the case.

The article does not cover the quota system past 1950. An apt title for the article might have been “Early history of TN reservations”. The most interesting things happened in the 70s,80s,90s. Quotas went from 34% to 49% to 69%.

1) The communal GO is not comparable to reservations. In that GO, each caste had a fixed number of seats allocated to them, nothing more nothing less. So the entire population of the state was divided along caste lines, brahmins had 16% quota (their estimated pop share in 1920). So out of 14 seats – exactly 2 would be filled by brahmins, 6 by non-brahmins, and so forth. There was no mention of backwardness.

2) The name should read Champakam Dorairajan not Shenbagam Duraiswamy. For more info read here

3) The first constitutional amendment did not restore the communal quotas in TN. It declared that a caste had to be actually backward to avail of reservation benefits. In other words, the communal quotas came to an end in 1950.

4) The communal GO had no mention of backwardness. The Mudaliars who spearheaded the anti-brahmin movement were by no means backward. If Kumaramangalams grandfather P Subbarayan had a provincial government under his control in 1927, how is this community is considered backward today ?

5) The history of quotas in TN does not end in 1950. TO understand the true nature of quotas you need to look at 1971 (Sattanathan commission) and 1980 (Ambasankar commission) and the MBC movement. The MBC movement lopped off 20% from the open competition and alloted it to a group of communities the biggest being Vanniars (Both Karunanidhis and Ramdoss’s communities are classified as MBC).

6) This article points out that next year TN will have had 85 years of quotas. So we are talking third or fourth generation beneficiaries in TN. Has no community progressed to be moved out of the backward list ?  

The low difference in cut offs are the surest indicators that the quota system in TN is way past affirmative action and firmly into reverse discrimination mode.

The health scenario, investment scenario, have nothing to do with the quota system. If you want to prove quota works in TN, you have to show that

  • all OBCs components get a fair share of the benefits
  • the OBCs are actually backward
  • the creamy layer is not taking up all the seats

The SC is taking up the infamous case of the 69% quota system prevalent in TN in October, when a 9-judge bench will hear arguments. This will be one of the most defining moments in our history. The central question is : “Can courts veto wrong law ?” See here

The ninth schedule was intended to support democratic land reform laws. The main intention was to thwart zamindars, erstwhile princes, who owned thousands of acres from approaching the court on the grounds of right to property. See here

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5 Responses

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  1. Sharan Sharma said, on September 2, 2006 at 4:48 am

    hmmm…new look and all. Cool!

  2. Unusual Suspect said, on September 2, 2006 at 10:38 am

    “Can courts veto wrong law ?”
    Apt. I doubt it, though. Precedents are going to be set, and they will be the wrong precedents.

  3. Bruno said, on September 8, 2006 at 10:49 pm

    // 4) The communal GO had no mention of backwardness. The Mudaliars who spearheaded the anti-brahmin movement were by no means backward. If Kumaramangalams grandfather P Subbarayan had a provincial government under his control in 1927, how is this community is considered backward today ?//

    Stupid… You cannot measure that with ONE individual

    Can you see the assets of Mittal and say that India is a rich country….

    Why is that this blog continues with such useless logic

  4. realitycheck said, on September 9, 2006 at 4:44 am

    >>Stupid… You cannot measure that with ONE individual>>

    So how many individuals can you measure ? Is it hard to mention thousands of landlords and industry owners from that community ?

    Must *each and every individual* in a caste be powerful before the caste can be reclassified as forward ? Is each and every member of the current forward castes powerful ?

    The question is : What is the comparison point for a community to be declared backward ?

    – It must only be compared to other Indian communities.

    – It must be compared to the national average not to the topmost. You cannot declare all communities who are below Parsis or Syed Muslims for example to be backward. This would lead to a situation where 90% will be classified as backward, which is laughable.

    Remember this has nothing to do with SC/STs. Their classification is very simple and well understood.

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