Reality Check India

Affirmative action – Indias example

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on April 18, 2006

So Krish pointed me to an article in the Civil Rights Journal

In that article there is a case made out for studing Indian reservation system to OBCs and adopting some ideas into the AA program. On the face of it not much interesting reading. Some assumptions do jump out.

The creamy layer test is an integral part of this package deal to OBCs. Some states however flagrantly violate this most important aspect and do not invite any censure from the backward classes commission or from the judiciary. The case in point is TN and Karnataka.

5. OBC membership only creates a rebuttable presumption that a person needs preferential treatment; therefore, the state must also use an individualized economic means test to eliminate persons from affluent or professional families (termed "the creamy layer test").

Second , the author assumes that India actually conducts an empirical study of various OBC groups which are then used to evaluate their claims to be OBC. The most striking point of the Mandal commission is that there was no detailed study done of the individual OBC claimants. Even its recommendation that every ten years or so every single OBC must be reevaluated to see if they still qualified as backward are totally ignored.

The most interesting part is how well Americans think and create laws. Consider this idea :

An alternative approach even more likely to survive strict scrutiny would be to take the Indian experiment one step further by eliminating altogether explicit use of ethnic identity. If a key cause and indicator of inadequate social capital is segregation, why not ask persons seeking affirmative action to provide evidence of their personal experience of segregation rather than presuming it from their ethnic identity?

A similar idea in India would mean each OBC claimant would actually have to provide a writeup of how he specifically suffered from the effects of inadequate social capital. This kind of law would be impossible in India.

Creamy layer example

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on April 18, 2006

If someone had property worth crores of rupees, prime cultivable land in the rice bowl of India, and NO history of oppression – can we atleast get that person, his relatives, his wives, and all extended family who have comparable status out of the reserved category. This is so that the seats can be taken by some other class who still are still landless laborers, who live in mud houses, who live on the banks of sewers, or who have a documented history of oppression (eg, bonded labor, not allowed to own houses, not allowed to drink from wells)

CHENNAI: DMK president M Karunanidhi owns not even a single car or house. He has no cultivable land either.

According to the affidavit attached to his nomination papers, he and family have assets worth Rs 25 crore, mainly in fixed deposits.

Karunanidhi has Rs 5 crore as fixed deposit in Kodambakkam branch of Indian Bank in Chennai.

Besides, he has about Rs 15 lakh in various banks. His wife Dayalu Ammal has Rs 12.5 crore as fixed deposit in Indian Bank, Kodambakkam branch and another Rs 5 crore in Raja Annamalaipuram branch of the same bank. She has about Rs 25 lakh in deposits, current and savings accounts.

His other wife Rasathi Ammal has a house worth Rs 3.02 crore at CIT Colony in Mylapore in the city.

While Dayalu Ammal owns a 2005 model Honda Accord and has jewellery worth Rs 5 lakh, Rasathi Ammal has a 2005 model Tata Indigo and jewellery worth Rs 5.58 lakh. Karunanidhi has no car for himself.

None of them owns any agricultural land or commercial complexes. Karunanidhi has 50 percent stake in Anjuham Publications that has its own building in Kodambakkam for which he made an initial investment of Rs 5,000.

He could enjoy the benefits of 6,162 feet Gopalapuram residence and 14.30 acres of land in Ahara Thirunallaru village in Thanjavur district till the end of his life.

Dayalu Ammal also has 50 percent stake in Anjuham Publications. She is the trustee of a trust in her name that has 21 cent land in Madakkulam village in Madurai district.

Rasathi Ammal is the owner of Tamilkani Publications, with an asset of Rs 20.75 lakh and Royal Furniture with an investment of Rs 5.41 lakh.

MK’s family has no loans in any banks and has no dues to pay to any of the departments like TNEB, telephones, transport companies and corporation among others, according to the affidavit.

About National Commission for Backward Classes – I

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on April 17, 2006

This is the first post in a series.

Most of you who have read this blog up until now will know that we do not oppose reservation. We just oppose its implementation and total non-monitoring. This allows totally undeserving wealthy sub communities to corner all the benefits acrruing to the general OBC list.

The starting point for studying the reservation for OBCs nationwide is the national commission for backward classes.

Over the next few parts, we will study how if implemented correctly – this commission is actually a fair and just setup. That is a fairly big IF , this commission is toothless against powerful vested interests. So for the most part, all the monitoring and realignment conditions are TOTALLY IGNORED. This is realitychecks ONLY problem against the incumbent  reservation system to OBCs.

What is the National Commission of Backward Classes ?

This was a group created to study the inclusion and exclusion requests from different classes into the National OBC List. As you might have guessed – no one has approached it for exclusion.

Located in :

National Commission for Backward Classes

Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

Trikoot-1, Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi – 110 066

To start off let us first study their handbook  (PDF FILE 65 pages)

Stay tuned – we will go through each section !

Numerus clausus

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on April 16, 2006

What is Numerus clausus ? How does it apply to India ?

Answer from Wikipedia :

The numerus clausus is currently used in countries and universities where the number of applicants greatly exceeds the number of available places for students. This is the case in many countries of continental Europe.

With successful completion of the academically-oriented and state-approved secondary school (usually a Gymnasium), a student passes the so-called Abitur or Matura exams. After this is completed, they receive a document that confirms their passing and lists their grades. This is then used to obtain either an implicit or an explicit permission to study at a university.

This was used illegally in the past as a "Jewish Quota" – where the number of jews would be forcibly restricted from 10-30% depending on the country.

So what does this have to do with India where the supply is woefully short of demand. The numerus clauses has a lot of "ideas" that can be incorporated into our quota system (which is a nothing but a reflection of relative political influence of various communities).

One idea that can be adapted is similar to Germany.

Segregate 10-20% of all seats to open category students from previous years who were denied admission that year due to the quota system.

This system may not be perfect but atleast it wont be brutally harsh towards poor souls from the so called forward classes (read politically not strong).

Monitor the sytem in detail and allow free access to INDIVIDUAL component based data about OBCs in admission , employment and promotions.

We certainly need more creative thinking. The current system of non monitoring is extremely unfair to both SC/ST/Dalits and to the so called forward communities.

Desert misapplied

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on April 16, 2006

There is a lot of talk about affirmative action and our quota system. Some have even gone to the length of equating the two. Of them is even from a IISC prfessor.

I will quote from that post itself

Do the beneficiaries of affirmative action deserve their benefits. Do the losers deserve their loss ?

This is the real question in front of us. There is wide consensus that SC/ST/Dalits really do deserve their benefits. Even after 60 years their plight has not improved a single bit. Every single benefit given to them has been extended to their oppressors. Real reform – the most urgent and just – the land reform has not taken place. OBCs continue to hold on to large agricultural lands, while the Dalits toil and landless laborers or marginal land owners.

Back to the subject of affirmative action vs the quota system.

  • Affirmative action is a program that is backed by solid social studies including detailed benefiacry wide database of who has benefited. Available statistics include the percentage of hispanic/ african american doctors  and lawyers statewise, sometimes even county wise.
  • Extensive resouces available for all to access and the Diversity database
  • Does our quota system monitor this effectively ? Nope, you cant even tell me how many OBC doctors made it to medical school last year ? The truth is we do not monitor the system *AT ALL*. It is allowed to run amok and all arguments and facts are just a "you vs me – lets take it outside"
  • Affirmative action is not a quota system, which would be illegal in the United States. The only exception is when a judge orders a quota on a company that has been found guilty of extreme or blatant discrimination in employment.  How then can the esteemed professor make the connection ?
  • What then is affirmative action ? Affirmative action is nothing but a set of goals for admission and recruitment. Also note that goals are flexible, depending on the constant monitoring.
  • Race is only a factor in admission. For example in the Univ of Michigan race gets you 20 points or so.
  • Affirmative action is for minorities. In India, our OBC quota is for the majority
  • AA is to redress most inhuman and well documented treatment meted out to slaves. The reservations to SC/ST/Dalits are clear and we agree must continue. Are we so clear that OBCs also need this system ?

We can try only so much to paint a veneer of logic to blatant political machinations of Arjun Singh.

It is very easy

The OBC script

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on April 16, 2006

Excellent post that points out how reservations to OBCs are unfair to SC/STs.

Whatever one’s views on reservation, the claims of OBCs are not the same as those of SCs/STs. Our founding fathers were wise to recognise that. OBCs have been capitalising on a narrative of injustice which is not theirs, and in the process compounding greater injustice.

The current debate is being totally hijacked by talk of merit. The real issue is more like this.

"Now, my friends we have all come to the point where a quota system is going to be impilemented whether you like it or not. Let us talk about *who* the OBCs are and their actual station in society, before giving them the benefits" This is the line of thinking we should be pursuing.

Everyone knows, any increase in the number of seats reserved to OBCs will instantly be cornered by wealthy and educated OBCs like Mudaliars, Lingayats, Pillais, and others. This is because these communities have really smart students who can easily beat the Forward castes exams and in the university proper. Why would they not ? They attend the best schools, are well respected in society, have both parents and grandparents who are educated, have access to the best tuition classes, and so forth.

Children of a lesser god – by Harish Khare

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on April 12, 2006

Here is another article written by Mr Harish Khare in the Hindu. In this artilcle again he tries to hoodwink the public by piggybacking SC/STs with OBCs. Mr Kharey this is getting really old.

Consider this golden excerpt.

Television crews have been despatched to find voices of "merit" that are aghast at the very idea that institutes of management, presumed bastion of merit and competition, are now sought to be pried open to admit children of the lesser gods. Captains of industry are on record as to how a few hundred seats in management schools will erode India's competitiveness in this age of globalisation.

Really ! Children of lesser gods ! Is he talking about OBCs  or SC/STs ?

The children of lesser gods are fine thank you. Many of them own hundreds of acres of farms, attend the best schools in both India and abroad, have maximum political representation and clout. They also beat the children of greater god regularly in entrance exams.

After this assertion there is no point in reading the article further, because it is all emotional nonsense.

If children of lesser god have 80% of MLAs in assembly, belong to the richest community in the state, have maximum land holding in the form of rice fields, banana farms, coffee tea estates. If children of lesser god fill up top boarding schools in ooty, kodai, and also face no discrimination today or have faced in the past – heck we all want to be children of lesser god.

What do you expect from a junk rag communist paper  ?

Resources – read this

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on April 12, 2006

The key to having a meaningful discussion of reservation is to dissociate SC/STs with OBCs.

There is very little government statistics on the actual state of OBC components. There are however some good studies by the government on the SC/STs , some of them include data on OBCs too.

Please read this paper by Dr Partho S. Ghosh , excellent reading.

Positive Discrimination in India – A political analysis

The important quotes with respect to OBCs

A related question is whether the privileges are being cornered by the élites amongst the target groups. One common criticism against the reservation policy is that it has benefited only a small section of them. According to estimates only 6% of the SC families have benefited from the policy. It must, however, be admitted that even this small number has thrown up leadership for the community to bargain for the larger interests of the community at large.71 Moreover, it is a fact of life that in any community within a competitive polity the initial beneficiaries are invariably the élites.

This criticism, however, is largely valid in respect of the OBCs where some of the backward castes are way above others amongst them. As such, any reservation policy meant for the OBC community as a whole, is bound to end in ineffectiveness in the long run by this internal contradiction alone. As most of the underprivileged amongst the OBCs would ask for their rights there would be cleavages in the OBC identity as is now being seen in Bihar. There the Kurmis and the Koiris are opposing the Yadavs, both belonging to the OBC category. Moreover, with other demands being raised for quota allocations by women, professional groups, the poor from the upper caste Hindus, and so on, there is a possibility that the entire system of OBC reservation would collapse as a result of these divisions.

What about standards ?

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on April 12, 2006

Found on the internet :

Tamilnadu is the hotbed for IT pros. Clearly reservation has not lowered the standards, even at 69% level. SO why are some people making noise over standards ?

The comment seems to make sense doesnt it ? Today, Tamilnadu is hot in IT and even in medical tourism. People from all over India and the world come here to be treated by Tamil doctors.

SCratch the surface and you will find the flaw in this line of thinking. No community is great due to its genes – only regressive people support that view. Excluding one/two/three communities will do no noticable harm at all to the overall public standards.

This is because the OBCs are not synonymous with bad standards. WHy would it be ? They go to the best of the best schools. A vast majority of them have highly educated parents like doctors, lawyers, engineers. Many of the richest families including the Tamil Bill Gates are from OBC communities. Thy are hardworking intelligent resourceful and most of all wealthy (at least a critical mass of them are). The main point is however, there is no stigma associated with these communities. That is the main difference between the SC/ST and the OBCs.

To be continued..

The Tamilnadu case !

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on April 11, 2006

By now it must be clear to all that IITs and IIMs will succumb to the politics of reservation. It may be delayed by a year or two but it will happen.

Our north Indian friends are advised to take a look at Tamilnadus educational system. This is important because this is what the entire India will be like in 10 years time.

Some amazing facts:

* No one is allowed to study the _effects_ of reservation on the OBCs

* The creamy layer concept is ignored totally. All political parties support this. They want the same people to continue enjoying the benefits year after year. Kerala are you listening, OBCs in TN do not even know what a “non creamy layer certificate” is. They are all eligible – even those whose both parents are doctors, lawyers, and if they come from communities with no history of oppression.

* The exams are unlike anything you will see in India. In other states getting 90% may be a big deal, but in Tamilnadu there are 1400+ 100% cases in Biology for 1300+ medical seats. Hundreds are tied at 98.75. This is the case with all subjects.

* Traditionally educated communities within the OBC group dominate. That is the reason groups like Vanniyers broke away and formed a MBC (Most backward caste) group. You will see more groups claiming a quota within a quota, which is a fair demand

* The students from the OBC groups are very competitive and many easily get into the general category quota. Why would they not ? They are hard working and intelligent just like anyone else. Many of them have highly educated parents and attend the best schools and coaching. In short, they are not backward in any shape, size, or form. So unless you are a freak, who believes in the genetic superiority of some people – this is quite expected.

* Only one community is paying for the sins of all. Luckily most northern states and other southern states will escape this uniquely Tamil accident of history

* Private colleges will take over as the premier educational institutions due to faculty reservations and other reasons in government colleges.