Reality Check India

Jat inclusion in OBC list in Idea of India framework

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on September 3, 2013

The Prime Minister today announced a special high power Group of Ministers to study the inclusion of Jats in the Central OBC List.

Prime minister Manmohan Singh has set up a Group of Ministers on the inclusion of Jats in the central list of OBCs, a move that is clearly aimed at wooing the influential community which holds sway in Haryana, Rajasthan and parts of Delhi and western Uttar Pradesh ahead of the general elections.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram will head the GoM with Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Kumari Selja and Minister of State in charge of Personnel V Narayansamy as members.The GoM will expedite the issue, according to a government note which underlines the need for early action.

Source : TOI

To understand the sheer magnitude of the issue – just look at the composition of the  GoM. The PM, Chidambaram, Shinde, other top ranking cabinet ministers. This issue is going to draw the energy of the highest lawmakers of this country.

Because it is that important.

I have tracked the Jat issue quite a bit in the past on this blog such as in “Jat quota and social justice falsifiability“. It always astonishes me how difficult Jats are finding it to get the Centre to agree to their demands. As we speak the NCBC and ICSSR have been conducting surveys of the community in four states to ascertain their backwardness.  But the issues are much larger than that.

The dominant political framework in India today is what I have been calling the “Idea of India” framework. I also equate it to a particularly egregious scheme called “adhoc consociationalism“.  In this framework, intensity of political participation by groups determines ones level or access to public goods. Given this, you certainly cannot accuse the Jats of slacking. Why do Jats despite blockading roads and rail a mere 30 minutes away from the national capital are finding it so hard to get in.

The answer is : Inside Group resistance and a lack of a judicial standard of review.

Inside groups

When benefits are granted, not on falsifiable criteria, but as a reward for intense and predictable political participation, you neatly divide the population into inside and outside groups. Those political leaders who represent the inside groups and form the ruling coalition in India, will resist any uninvited guests to the table.  If they do blink on this vital matter,  they violate the most sacred covenant they have made with their voters, that of protecting their interests from scrutiny or dilution.

You might wonder about the following questions :

  • Why arent inside groups not subject to the same level of scrutiny as those trying to get in ?
  • Are the inside groups completely immune from scrutiny, even in light of contrary data ?
  • Why are only Jats selected for the special study ? Is it the fault of dispersed groups that they arent able to mobilize  ?
  • Why not just measure and make public disaggregated data about the OBC groups to see how the inside groups are performing relative to each other ?

So much water has flown under the bridge that these questions are now feared.   In this environment of rampant factionalism,  an amorphous,  pixellated,  meaningless, and potentially seditious political order called the Idea of India is being actively promoted. Unopposed.

Its nemesis, the Rule of Law does not exclude the opportunity for social justice.  In a Rule of Law both inside and outside groups are subject to the same amount of scrutiny and fair process.  This is brought about by a simple measurement of how benefits are accessed by component communities within the omnibus categories to prevent problems of hoarding and blockades.

Next up : Is India today, a perfect model of  the factional dystopia that James Madison warned about ?

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