Reality Check India

Rajya Sabha Debate – A must read

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on September 7, 2006

The purpose of both houses of Parliament is to discuss policy issues. Even if the quality of debate is poor, the fact that a debate happened and ministers made their positions public is very important.

The lack of debate on the OBC quota is a case in point.

  • No one can openly support a system that is so obviously broken and not backed by any socio-economic data.
  • At the same time, no one can be seen as opposing it. The OBC quotas which may be well intentioned have been essentially converted into votebanks. A plank for getting elected.

The SC/ST quota is real and is intended to address social justice. Not surprisingly it is well monitored (the census in 2001 had no problems about enumerating SC and ST).

The problem is 1300+ castes are waiting to be included in the SC list ! This is in addition to Christian and Muslims who want SC benefits. So how does one deal with these requests for inclusion ?

Read this debate that took place in the Rajya Sabha. I assure you it is entertaining yet informative. You wont be bored !

Some snippets:

SHRI PRAVEEN RASHTRAPAL (who speaks well on this topic)

By an error, the Parliament also committed a small error in the year 1977, and a particular caste of Gujarat, which was not Scheduled Caste, was by mistake included in the list of Scheduled Castes, because the area restriction was removed.  A particular sub-caste was Scheduled Caste only for a particular district, and because the area restriction was removed, they became Scheduled Caste all over the State.  The entire Scheduled Caste of the Gujarat Government opposed, the State Assembly also opposed, that all over Gujarat they do not belong to Scheduled Caste, only in a particular district they belong to Scheduled Caste.  So, area restriction should be re-imposed.   It took 27 years to make amendments in spite of the efforts of entire State Assembly and the Government of Gujarat. 

A typical classification problem. By erroneously including this community as SC for 27 years, the quota system was compromised in Guj. What was the impact on the real SCs ? HOw many jobs / college seats were compromised ?

N JOTHI says

They must read the preachings of Periyar.  He questioned, ‘where is God?’  He spent 70 years of his life questioning the existence of God.  Where is God?  Where is community?  How can you see a man or see his community?  I have seen it in Delhi several times that people belonging to the Scheduled Castes are very fair and much more good-looking than the forward community people of my area.  I am surprised how they have been named as belonging to the Scheduled Castes.  It is very sad on our part, Sir. 

I dont know where to start with this, but this is the level of debate today. Are we then having a racial quota based on skin color ? What about the fact that most forward castes in the south are also dark skinned ? On the other hand I think Anbumani and Maran are pretty good looking and lighter skinned than most forward community people. You ought to be suprised that someone can talk like this in parliament.

Finally the inevitable happens

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (PROF. P.J. KURIEN):  Please sit down. …(Interruptions)…  Please sit down.  That is enough.  …(Interruptions)…  Mr. Azmi, please sit down.  That is enough.  …(Interruptions)…  Mr. Azmi, please take your seat.  …(Interruptions)…  Mr. Azmi, sit down.  …(Interruptions)…  Mr. Azmi, sit down.  …(Interruptions)… Please take your seats. …(Interruptions)…  Okay.  That is enough.  Mr. Azmi, please sit down.  …(Interruptions)…  What is this?  …(Interruptions)…  Mr. Azmi, please take your seat.  That is enough.  …(Interruptions)…  That is enough.  …(Interruptions)…  Okay.  …(Interruptions)…  This is not good.  What is this?

The House then adjourned at

fifty-eight minutes past four of the clock till

eleven of the clock on Monday, the 31st July, 2006.

5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. gihgokjhkghhj said, on September 7, 2006 at 8:10 am

    //What about the fact that most forward castes in the south are also dark skinned ? //


    BTW, Maran is half-brahmin.

  2. Sharan Sharma said, on September 8, 2006 at 9:33 pm

    That was hilarious – Thanks!

    Jothi totally rocks! He should be given extra time to speak, everytime.

    i especially liked Mullah Bharadwaj’s statement:
    “In Islam, all are equal. We borrowed this equality from Islam”
    I’m pretty sure he picked that up from a textbook authored by Romila Thapar or one of the ’eminent historians’.

    Prof. Kurien was ‘swell as well:
    “…even if you change your religion, the caste must continue.”

  3. xyz said, on September 11, 2006 at 5:37 pm

    found the debate depressing.but familiar.every one stuck to their positions.only the MP from gujarat was reasonable.jothi was part reasonable,part naive and part ignorant.the quality of jaya’s lawyer made me ponder.i wonder why we are even debating this issue?

    RC,do you honestly think ,that the politicians will ever see reason?

    will they accept the SC judgements,supposing a fair judgement is delivered.

    how optimistic are you about india,given its are so worldly wise.i am interested in your opinion.

  4. realitycheck said, on September 12, 2006 at 3:35 am


    The quality of a politician depends on how wide a range of interests he represents.

    Today, because the political class is empowered to give preferential treatment to arbitrary groups of people, the interests are getting narrower. Even the PM is more interested in minority affairs than anything else. You will not find a person like Nehru or Patel in the near future.

    The key is the arbitrariness of the process of preferential treatment. If you remove the arbitrariness from the equation, the politicians power to “define” is snatched away. THis will lead to more of them talking about national issues like fighting terrorism, economic policy, public infrastructure issues, and so forth.

    THe fork in the road is here. I am afraid that one of the paths in the fork leads to a total destruction of large interests (read national parties). Narrower interests are invariably linked to obtaining special treatment for groups of people (be it caste based, or minority based, or even gender based). The people representing narrower interests could not care less about big picture issues like primary education for all. The key for them is special treatment for their interest group.

  5. xyz said, on September 13, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: