Sachar report – the perils of group quotas
The Sachar Committee is going to submit its report to the PMO by the end of this month. There is enough being leaked out to the media to cushion the shock value when it is made public. Who is responsible for these leaks ? Lets not go there.
Based purely on media reports, the Sachar Committee seems to look at under representation, while ignoring over representation of Muslims in the most coveted areas. This might be politically convenient, but will build extreme resentment in the rest of society. Will the committee tell us who are the richest communities in the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and TN ? Muslims are over represented in gulf jobs, which drive the rural economies of TN and KE. Entire villages look upon them with envy as they see mansions and luxury cars sprout. Now, if you do not factor these things in while creating a PD policy. Get ready for a backlash from all communities – hindu and christian – backward, forward, and dalit.
I heard the BJP leader Arif Mohammed Khan on a TV program (CNN-IBN) saying that the urdu press is already reporting that there will be a 15% reservation for muslims. This will most likely be a subquota because of the 50% cap.
Whats the big deal ?
It is a really big deal because it affects the OBC quota. In most states like TN/KE/KA most muslims are already classified as OBCs. They are already ahead of hindu OBCs because they have special access to minority institutions. Creating a separate subquota for them will open the floodgates for similar demands from Christians. That cannot be refused under any grounds because a larger percentage of Christians are converts from Dalits.
From what has been leaked so far, it seems that,
- Some Muslim groups will be recommended for SC status.
- A subquota for Muslims within the OBC quota.
The first one is constitutionally invalid and will likely need yet another constitutional amendment. SC status is only for hindu untouchables, the list cannot be modified at will. The caste system does not exist among Muslims and Christians. Even among Hindus, only those castes who were untouchable at the time the lists were drawn are eligible for SC status. If you open that Pandoras box (of adding to the SC list) – there are thousands of castes waiting to be added in too. If you include millions more from casteless religions into SC status, it will be extremely unjust to the real Dalits – such as the ones shown in various “shocking videos”. I cant see anyone standing up for them when it really matters.
The second one might work as long as only muslim OBC castes are treated separately. If all muslims (minus creamy layer) are sought to given privileges, it will also require a constitutional amendment. If all muslims (minus creamy layer) are given reservations – it is tantamount to having economic criteria for Muslims alone while having social and educational criteria for the rest of India.
More later, when this report is made public. This has the potential to tear Indian society apart. This will lead to the worst fear of our founding fathers coming true 60 years after independence – the communal award.