Moily – No question of bulldozing quotas
Ok, so I am back after a week of no access to media of any kind.
I missed the Moily interview with Karan Thapar, so my comments are based on the transcript available at http://www.ibnlive.com/news/devils-advocate-veerappa-moily/18439-3.html
Karan Thapar: Mr Moily, let us start with the issue that is most in the news. Now that you have received the interim reports of all the five different sub-groups, do you believe it is possible to increase the intake by 54 per cent at one go next year? Or do you believe it needs to be staggered over a given period of time?
Veerappa Moily: These are the problems that are being posed by all the sub-groups. With the kind of mindset they are in, it is not possible to implement it at one go.
It seems the media and the public is caught up with the word “staggered”. Just like the phrase “dream budget”. The root issue is forgotten and everyone focusses on the staggering of quota. Stagerring quotas is a very minor issue compared to the absolute non-availability of beneficiary (data).
Does it really matter if quotas are staggered or not ?
There are two approaches.
Stagger the quotas inline with expansion. Let us say over 3-5 years, as new infrastructure is added – it is opened up exclusively for competition to OBCs. Open competition cannot have access to the newly added seats.
Implement full quota now and expand later. This means in the interim 3-5 years, IIT/IIMs/AIIMs will be jam packed and possibly straining infrastructure and teaching. As new infrastructure is built up pressure eases.
So which is better, (1) or (2). Does it really matter ? Isnt the end result the same after 3-5 years ? Cant we “arjust” a bit in the interim period with packed classrooms ? Cant we make do with evening and night classes for the interim period ? Cant we share rooms in the hostels ?
If we do not question the root issues , the peripheral issues do not make any difference.
If we continue to ignore the total lack of social data for OBCs (including even how many there are) – the entire reservation system is compromised. You are just going to end up with a totally ad-hoc system of favoritism based purely on muscle power of wealthy OBC castes.
The fundamental premise that a OBC scoring lower marks getting preference over a OC scoring higher – is justified based on the “social and educational backwardness” is thrown to the winds.
Karan Thapar: Your interim report says “the issue concerning the ‘Creamy Layer’ is being considered by the committee and a view will be taken in the final report.” What steps are you taking to consider it and how you are considering it?
Veerappa Moily: It is a question of design of implementation of the reservation order. There are two debates. One group says that so far as education is concerned ‘Creamy Layer’ should be included because you cannot capture the entire upper class. Another group says that if the ‘Creamy Layer’ is not included, then the people who are mighty and rich will lock away the entire lot of reservation.
If that is the case, then why does Karnataka exclude the creamy layer from 4 of its 5 OBC categories ? Why did the SC come down hard on Kerala for not excluding the creamy layer (Indira Sawhney II) ?
What does “capture the entire upper class” mean ?
The plain truth is the creamy layer is many OBC communities is very thick. Thick enough to fill the entire OBC quota several times over. If you continue to include the creamy layer, it would make an already compromised system even more farcical.
Veerappa Moily: It is not the question of us not being able to do anything. It’s just the reality. You must know what is happening in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The difference between the general category and OBCs is not even 0.3 per cent. Sometimes, it’s even below 0.2 per cent.
The idea is not to degrade these institutions to enable the OBC students to get in. I want SC/ST students to go to an institution that has immense prestige. This is only in their interest.
I think Mr Moily meant to say “I want OBC students to go to an institution that has immense prestige”.
As far as cutoffs are concerned, 0.2% and 0.3% difference in cutoffs are the surest indicators that the OBC quotas are not working. It is a clear indicator that many OBC communities do not need reservations because they are getting in on their own. In other words, low cutoff deltas means (a) time is up for some OBC castes to be reclassified and/or (b) the exams are designed to bunch students at the top.
To most people affected by the quota (the truly backward OBCs as well as the OCs) – the Moily committee is disheartening.
If this was a honest exercise, there must atleast have been some recommendations to set up the Third Backward Classes commission to re-examine and collect basic OBC data.
Only the SC can step in and ask for the 3rd backward classes commission. Here we are about to spend 17,000 Crores – we must spend atleast 10 crores on a commission to collect basic facts.