Reality Check India

Quota news roundup

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on July 26, 2006

So the monsoon session of parliament is now in session. The most important bill this session is going to be the OBC quota bill. The Veerappa Moily Oversight Committee is due to submit its report only at the end of August, but an interim report might be released this friday. In all the terrorism and naxal violence, many of us have gotten distracted from this issue.

Quota for “economically backward” upper castes


Another weapon in the hands of the politicians. There can be only one explanation for this misguided quota, which will take away another 10-15% from the open competition. The only explanation for this quota is as a safety net for a totally crazy quota regime.

Creamy layer removal

Moily admitted that the creamy layer removal was not discussed during his committee meetings.

They have no problems specifying a creamy layer for employment in civil services. See here

Test of a honest exercise

If there is any goodwill or honesty behind this exercise, this interim report will contain a recommendation to constitute a nationwide study to identify the true beneficiaries of OBC quotas. I cannot understand why this simple and most logical demand cannot be conceded by the politicians !

  • How has it worked ? If no OBC caste has come out of backwardness even after 80 years in some states; either the quota system is a miserable failure (or) the entire rationale for classification as OBC has nothing to do with actual backwardness.
  • Have all OBC component castes benefited fairly from the quota ? Is only a small politically powerful segment cornering all the benefits leaving the truly deserving high and dry ?
  • Conduct studies of various groups and make this socio-economic data available to all citizens 
  • Are there any communities that can no longer be called backward or under-represented ? If so what is the justification for them continuing as backward classes
  • Given the enormous disparity in OBCs between the north and the south, how on earth can you have an all India quota ?
  • If the OBC group is not homogeneous with enormous disparities, would that not be treating unequals equally, which flies in the face of the entire rationale of quotas.

Under the garb of social justice, we cannot allow communities to enjoy quota benefits without any data to ascertain their backwardness. The need of the hour is a nationwide commission to redefine the OBC caste lists based on objective criteria (yes even the so called eleven Mandal criteria will do)

15 Responses

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  1. Polite Indian said, on July 26, 2006 at 9:46 pm

    >>Test of a honest exercise

    I guess that the (dis)honesty of politicians could also be tested by the fact that none of the politicians are asking for similar reservations for OBCs in the Parliament, Legislative Assemblies, Municipal Corporations, Panchayats and every other political body.

    If politcians were serious then they would also think that providing reservations in these areas would benefit the OBCs in a way that would benefit them elsewhere.

    Also they should give 50% reservation in ministries so that the BCs can share the power and get a shot at shaping the policies of the country.
    You think any politician would do that? Certainly no Arjun Singh!

    Pardon the sarcasm but if it is relevant to have reservation in higher education, jobs and promotions then there is no reason why the same could not be applied to Parliaments and other political bodies.

    I really don’t want this to happen but I am just questioning the honesty of the politicians!
    They won’t understand their mistakes unless these issues hit them at their own homes. On their own turf!

    I think these should be interview questions to Arjun Singh and his likes.

  2. venkat67 said, on July 27, 2006 at 7:49 am

    the rationale for quotas is power and to some extent “revenge”.

    it is only a certain section of brahmanas who feel strongly about reservation.others are busy making money or just plain disinterested.the poorest do not matter at all.

    that is the way india has always been.the british rule was only a interrugnum.the idea of indian unity appeals to a very small section.even their motives are not disinterested.this elite group has its inevitable differences,spread as it is all over the country.

    All through the ages,there has been an urge to indian unity without the power to achieve it.-perceival spear

    india has not expressed herself as a monolithic state like china or compact national states like europe.

    there is no common language,no common cultural traditions except a pluralistic hinduism.

    groups which were powerful in pre-british india but had been marginalised by english education are fighting back.look at thakurs for instance.add to them numerically large peasant and landed communities like jats,yadavs,kurmis,kunbis,thevars,gounders,vanniyars,kapus,kammas and newly emerging communities like nadars,christians,muslims you know where the scales are going to be tilted.

    in tn,there is the racial factor as well.they want proportional representation in industry and services.where there is great wealth.

    democracy is an instrument to cut down the “aryans” to is a natural reaction.

    but they are not so stupid to kill the golden goose.they will milk it and gradually seize is does not mean brahmanas will be eliminated.those who serve their purpose,abide by their rules or otherwise extrordinary can remain.from their viewpoint,it is perfectly right.

    north india is a different case the racial factor is is difficult to predict the outcome.

    states like gujarat,karnataka,maharahtra,bengal,orissa,assam stand to suffer.yes even there are no clearly demarcated obcs ranged against the ‘outsiders.’in assam and maharashtra the sons of the soil movement is diffuse.(ulfa can never succeed).the obcs are really backward.gujarat,karnataka,orissa and maharashtra are hindutva states.they dont count in the eyes of UPA,sonia,manmohan.but muslims,christians, dravidians in AP,TN,kerala matter.even the left in bengal is a toothless tiger,headed as it is by the “bhadralok” leadership.the ravanas,muslims and christians have to be appeased.

  3. venkat67 said, on July 27, 2006 at 3:51 pm

    i read a few days ago,in the thinathanthi,that the creamy layer criteria has been notified by the seemed you have any idea about it?

  4. realitycheck said, on July 27, 2006 at 4:16 pm


    The notification was only for employment in all india civil services.

    My guess is that the govt will propose a OBC quota without creamy layer removal and count on the SC to strike it down, so that they are not affected politically. See what happened in Indira Sawhney II in the case of Kerala.

    There are also many weird anomalies waiting to explode once the creamy layer is discussed.

    Among the foremost is that if a community has say 50-60% of students in creamy layer, can that community be called backward anymore ?

    Another problem is backwardness is relative, a community cannot be classified as backward compared to Manhattan Jewish community, they can only be compared with the so called upper castes.

    For example if a community has a higher proportion of students in creamy layer than the forward community, then on what basis can that community be classified as backward ?

    When the system is totally broken and not supported by rational studies and data, these types of anomalies are bound to occur ? As observed by the honble judges in Indira Sawhney, “.. if we do not exclude the creamy layer or continue to include forward castes, we will be reducing the reservation system to a farce”

  5. realitycheck said, on July 27, 2006 at 4:24 pm

    >>same could not be applied to Parliaments and other political bodies. >>

    Polite Indian,

    Actually that wont be necessary because the political system is completely dominated by the OBCs, at least in the southern states. I think it is the case in Bihar and UP as well.

    The real question is whether they continue to be backward due to their political power or due to their actual socio economic status.

  6. Sharan Sharma said, on July 28, 2006 at 5:08 am

    Hi RC,
    > Quota for “economically backward” upper castes……the only explanation for this quota is as a safety net for a totally crazy quota regime.

    I thought it had something to do with the UP elections. Brahmins = ~10%,higest proportion in the country. But it talks of some panel – won’t be surprised if the panel submits its report early 2007. Reaction to madame mayavati’s wooing of ‘upper’ castes.

    > The real question is whether they continue to be backward due to their political power or due to their actual socio economic status.

    ..or whether they are scared of getting forward? (that’s what you meant?)
    “Hey, we’re having a good time being backward. Why move ahead?”

    Seriously, don’t you think that might be the case? Everyone wants to be clasified as ‘backward’. What a great nation we have. It’s going to cost us a lot (already has) – from a national spirit point of view.

    And how is this ‘backward’ caste, ‘forward’ caste thing measured?
    Let’s for a minute assume that these caste-based reservations do work (something i personally am dead against). So one scenario is that it works for all in that community i.e everyone lands up in the creamy layer. Likely? No way. Then is there something in the law that measures say ‘proportion backward in a caste’, even granting a caste-based reservation policy.

    What is the definition, the cut-off? 80% in creamy layer? Is that when a *caste* stops being classified as OBC. If yes, then what study will show it? At what frequency should this study be done?

    But oh, i forgot RC, all-knowing-Chidambaram has ‘life’ to show it for him. He doesn’t want you asking for data like you’ve been doing all along:)

    Maybe this is covered in one of your previous posts, but when is this re-evauation undertaken, if any?

    Also, in the link that you’ve provided there is a nice note at the end that says the income criteria for the creamy layer has been moved up from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 2.4 lakhs. What stops anyone from doing another(!) amendment to increase that to Rs. 5 lakhs? Who will oppose it? No one. And i wonder if any legal provisio can stop them from doing it as well.

    Lastly, this was really, well, don’t know how to put it across:
    (sorry if you’ve already covered this sometime)

  7. mineguruji said, on July 30, 2006 at 7:32 am

    The Devil doctors are Meritwallahs

    The devil doctors exposed by the IBN-CNN raise a number of questions?

    Are these doctors meritwallahs or from depressed classes?
    Why the so-called upper caste merit wallahs doctors turned out to be devils ? We dont say depressed people cant do it, but till date none has been found in this racket.
    This racket clearly shows why the doctors dont want to expand medical education ?
    There is huge money in this profession which has become synonymous with dalali, anything can be fixed for money?

    The IMA must tell why merit wallahs were found doing this, as it feels that they are the upholders of hippocrates oath in this country. The IMA itself is is battleground of corruption and sleaze, and there are many more skeletons in the cupboard.

    Hacker docs in the dock, IMA promises action

    Posted Saturday , July 29, 2006 at 21:17
    Updated Sunday , July 30, 2006 at 10:59 Email Print
    New Delhi: After CNN-IBN and DIG exposed doctors who cut off beggars’ limbs for a price to help the beggar mafia the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has promised to prosecute the erring doctors.

    Dr Ajay Kumar, National President Elect of the Indian Medical Association has said that the doctors will be arrested immediately.

    “If they are registered with the IMA then their medical license will be immediately suspended,” he said.

    The police have already taken Dr P K Bansal for questioning. He runs a clinic named Orthomat in Delhi’s Old Rajinder Nagar locality.

    Dr Bansal had agreed to amputate the limbs of a beggar despite knowing that the law prohibits amputation by will.

    Another doctor, Ghaziabad-based Ajay Agarwal took money to amputate healthy limbs of a DIG investigator who posed as a prospective beggar.

    People entered Agarwal’s house in Ghaziabad and demanded action against the erring doctor.

    In a sting operation, a team of CNN-IBN reporters exposed orthopaedic surgeon Ajay Agarwal’s unethical practice.

    Dr Agarwal put the fake beggar through a series of medical tests at his nursing home.

    The surgeon pocketed Rs 4,000 as advance for the operation from the team while also giving advice on how the amputation could be made to look legal.

    When CNN-IBN reached Dr Ajay Agarwal at the Noida Civil Hospital, the cameraperson was pushed and abused.

    It was in fact Dr Ajay Agarwal who had referred Dr P K Bansal to the investigative team as part of amputation nexus.

    Dr Ajay Agarwal is absconding and the police are trying to track him down.

    CNN-IBN had also exposed Dr Arvind Agarwal of Bareilly.

    Dr Agarwal, who is also the Secretary of the Orthopaedic Association of Bareilly is now absconding.

    His wife says he has not returned since Saturday afternoon.

    When questioned about Dr Agarwal, his wife, Dr Neera Agarwal said,”If he has not come then how can I tell you?”

    The police are now looking out for him. The Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Bareilly, Anand Swaroop said, “We are looking for him and have contacted IMA for cooperation.”

  8. Sharan Sharma said, on July 30, 2006 at 8:24 am


    Are you ok?
    I don’t think so.

    1) Please rush to the nearest doctor.
    2) On reaching, ask for a caste certificate.
    3) ENSURE the doctor is not from an ‘upper caste’ – certainly not an Agarwal.
    4) After getting treated, come back.
    5) Check what you’ve written. Maybe – just maybe – you’ll laugh at yourself.

  9. Bruno said, on July 31, 2006 at 1:29 pm

    Simple Logic….

    Backward Castes have been supressed from 2000 years….

    They need atleast 200 years to come up and not just one generation

  10. Xyz said, on July 31, 2006 at 5:36 pm

    thank you

  11. realitycheck said, on July 31, 2006 at 5:37 pm


    I am really sorry I had to remove your previous comments. You probably wrote it in an agitated state.

    Essentially I refrain from attacking a specific caste or community. The particular community you mentioned is actually one of the respectable ones who have come up due to the dint of their hard work and self support.

    They have not benefited from quotas as much as some of the northern and western elite communities.

    Sorry again, dont take this the wrong way.

  12. realitycheck said, on July 31, 2006 at 5:47 pm


    Two errors.

    First, it is not 2000 years, it is 5000 – 10000 years as per our finance minister.

    Second, it is the SC/ST oppression story, not that of the OBCs. So, you cannot just stretch the blanket to cover the OBCs. Not even a constitutional amendment can ensure 200 or 500 years or 1000 years of preferential treatment without consideration to socio-economic indicators for OBCs.

    The only way you can make it happen is to convert this country to an anarchy and dissolve the supreme court.

    If a OBC community is so far ahead of the pack in terms of socio-economic status. The party is over. You just gotto compete in the open.

    Again, for various reasons that are built into our country, SC/STs *alone* can enjoy benefits for a few generations more.

    The need of the hour is data that will help us assess each OBC component against the 11 mandal indicators in a transparent manner.

  13. M Balakrishnan said, on August 9, 2006 at 7:05 am

    Fixing of expiration period for quotas has NOT been properly debated and discussed in public (or, what is approximately same, on the internet and in the media). Ambedkar’s recommendation and its legislation regarding SC/ST quota was for a fixed period but subsequently it was extended. Similarly, assuming OBC quota of 27% is made into law, what will be the validity period for this quota ? Will it be 15, or 20, 50, …. years or perpetual ? I do not think that communities other than SC-ST-OBC will like any such perpetuation of any quotas for education and jobs, arguing that it is irrational and undemocratic. On the other hand, the quota-favoured (or protected) sections can put forth the argument that their communities had been discriminated against by (the Hindu) religion through Manusmritis made and modified at different times of hitory, and these religious criteria being used for legal basis, and if such discrimination was practised for centuries, why should not their their quotas be continued in perpetuity ? The middle-path arguer can say that if it was a shame for the unfavorably discriminated communities to have allowed their inferior status, it would now be just another shame for them to demand perpetual quotas for themselves, or at any rate quotas for prolonged periods half a century, one full century, or a millennium, etc., the length of the period being mentioned variously, arbitrarily, by different middle-path arguers. On the whole, therefore, only an economic criterion legally to enshrine quotas for students with high merit and indigence that pulls down merit from flowering. For jobs, the quotas will need to be taken off, once the quotas for communities are about to outlive their utility. Which may mean that both job and education quotas will need to go side by side for some definite period, like 15 years from this year (2006) and will need to be lifted by 2021, these dates being enshrined Constitutionally with the caveat that the quotas issue SHALL NOT be justiciable by lawmaking by politicians or by Constitutional amendment, after or before the expiry date for modification like extension. This suggestion has been made simply, but details can be worked out broadly on this basis. It must be remembered that it is NOT the herditary basis of castes which is at issue in jobs and education, so much as the GENETIC factor. Maybe, if people can apply genetic engineering tehniques for upgrading their posterity’s merit rating (as and when such technology is evolved with reasonably high success rate), the demand for quotas in education and jobs must alternatively be countered with governmental and social insistence on individual self-discipline which can greatly improve individual status prospects on legitimate lines of education and work. Indeed there are profound philosophical questions (which, incidentally, are out of comprehension or concern, of an average politician) are involved, when it comes to material upliftment of individuals and “communities”. These are, is it materialistic affluence/adequacy/abundance, more important than spiritual wisdom resting on contentment and minimum needs satisfaction, or the latter has no meaning in this ‘modern’ world ? How does one define happiness ? Does happiness conflict with prosperity which is predominantly understood to refer only to material affluence (which, according to economic and spiritual thinkers, has no limits in its definition)?

  14. M Balakrishnan said, on August 9, 2006 at 7:30 am

    A CORRECTION IN MY RESPONSE ABOVE JUST MADE : “On the whole, therefore, only an economic criterion legally to enshrine quotas for students with high merit and indigence that pulls down merit from flowering” , as it is, is an incomplete sentence, and does not make sense. I meant writing: “On the whole, therefore, only an economic criterion legally to enshrine quotas for students with high merit and indigence that pulls down merit from flowering, it would appear, can form the proper basis for legislation regarding quotas in education.” ASIDE FROM THIS CORRECTION, I also want to add this following: A lot, lot of research – unbiassed by prejudices or erroneous premises and assumptions – and systematically conducted, is called for to ascertain within reasonable limits of doubt: (a) To what extent the ST/SC categories for which the quotas have been enshrined in law and supposedly are being implemented properly by the Central and state governments ? Did these affirmative benefits reach these ‘unprivileged’ sections, in reality, and in full envisaged measure, or members of other castes usurp them using clever means, whether appearing legal, or simply downright forgeries regarding their caste identities ? What are the ground realities of quota implementation of education (and jobs in government services), involving the administrators, politicians, admission procedures and practices (for colleges) or selection practices by official authorities (mainly the Public Service Commissions). What is the extent of corruption that ate into the intended benefits of our poorer brethren who were free to use these legal measures for realizing their life ambitions ? How many people, young ones of course, regardless of caste labels attaching to them for no fault of theirs, were prevented by lack of material resources (mostly monetary) from translating their high mental/intellectual potential into pursuits of a high level of education, both professional and other ? How many geniuses, of the like of say Srinivasa Ramanujan – forget his damn caste – were nipped in their bud because of chilling poverty ? I also wish to add another challenging question here: How is it that there are so many outstanding figures – great thinkers as well as high degree holders inlcuded – arising from time to time from society, cutting across castes ? What, on the basis of these great achievers’ profiles, can we infer by way of factors OTHER THAN RESOURCES AND OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL/CASTE advantages ? These factors then can be used, perhaps, for forming affirmative action by SOCIETY rather than governments which want to stick to castes for vote-bank related political reasons.

  15. realitycheck said, on August 9, 2006 at 9:27 am

    Mr Balakrishnan,

    Very profound comment.

    Actually, I dont want to overanalyze the current system. It may not be that complex after all.

    One of the cornerstones of the quota system is that is classifies the population into groups. Then these groups are selected for a form of positive discrimination.

    Within each group are components, now each of these components have limited social interaction or commonality with other components. Due to the sheer population of the country each of these components has enough individual claimants to the entire resources for which the quota system is applied.

    In other words it is quite possible that a single strong component can take the entire pie, because again due to the population every component has enough students or job seekers to fill up the entire number of reserved seats. Conversely, it is also possible and likely that a weak component may not get a single benefit for years on end.

    The biggest gainers of the quota system are therefore, those components who can use their grouping to derive a disproportionate share of benefits.

    The acid test of the supporters of the quota system is when you ask them if they would support a community wise quota instead of a broad grouping. For example, if we split the current OBC group into 50 subgroups, so that all benefits percolate somewhat more evenly. You wont find the dominant components support that.

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