Saturday, April 12, 2008

Quota Raj – Prosperity Delayed

With Indian Supreme Court upholding Arjun Singh’s cynical politics of reserving admission seats to OBCs in IIT and IIMS, the stage is set for Quota Raj to spread to all the remaining spheres of Indian economy.

It is pointless for Supreme Court to pretend some sanity by commenting that economic criteria should be included in determining backwardness and being erudite about that; but when the push comes to shove giving carte blanch to the Dr. Manmohan Singh’s Government. The Court knows that the Government with people like Arjun Singh and political leaders like Mayawati watching intently in wings; Indian politicians will interpret the ruling in most cynical manner and will exploit it as a basis for their chauvinistic political instincts. The court may have explicitly talked about ‘excluding’ creamy layer from the OBC quota; but it is to be seen how scrupulously the government will follow on that.

This so called nuanced judgment from the Court is ineffective. If creamy layer exclusion is okay for OBS quota, then why is it not okay for the original reservation of SC/ST? The argument is that the Constitution does not specify that. Not a very convincing argument.

With this verdict, essentially the genie is out. Next is reserving of total 50% seats in Private education institutes and ultimately reservations in Private companies. These two things are not far away. It does not take a genius among Indian politicians to come up with such competitive, cynical political policies.

We have seen how smart minds of IMF are usually wrong. As like American Fed officials, IMF folks were clueless about the impeding global slow down. These same IMF folks are coming out and saying that the foundations of Indian economy are sound and it will realize the dream of ‘prosperity to all’ in near term, say by 2025. But only fool can ignore the longer term impact of ‘quota raj’ running amok on Indian economy; especially when the reservation hits Private Sector. The way Indian politics work, it is simply a matter of time before this tsunami will hit.

Quota Raj will end when those who benefit from such policies no longer benefit – meaning education competence required to get an admission in general category and reserved category is same; there are no private sector jobs to avail and so on. Whichever way one looks at this Quota Raj Politics, ‘India Prosperity to All’ will be needlessly delayed for sure because the entrenched ‘haves’ of Quota Raj will perpetuate the skewed system for long time to come.

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