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The History Of Reservation

History Of Reservation

Reservation Quota an exception for a few has been a heated debate for decades. Quotas were created to correct historical injustices and they existed even before independence. But in the 1950s, the government decided to bridge the gap between upper caste and the lower caste, Physically fit and the disabled, natives and non-natives or status as a domicile.

In the 1960s, gender based reservation was also accommodated. Today, Jats in Haryana and Patels in Gujarat also want a quota. So, where did reservations begin in India?

The first instance of quotas is from 1902 in Maharashtra. A 50% quota was created in government jobs for depressed classes. These were lower, caste, tribal and socially backward communities. Officially, after independence, they were called Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and the Other Backward Classes (OBC).

In the 1960, Morarji Desai set up the Mandal Commission. It was to assess the situation of OBCs across India. But some of the commission's findings were widely disputed. The commission calculated OBCs based on a 1930 census. Critics say the calculation to determine OBCs inaccurate and inflated. Critics say quotas should be based on economic factors, not social. Critics say well-to-do people from backward classes are also part of the creamy layer. Critics say merit will be compromised. Critics say reservation in higher education, jobs and promotion is a stretch. Experts say the policies were never revisited because politicians did not want to upset their vote banks. As more groups competed for the OBC status, the reservation pie kept growing.

Today, even dominant castes like the Patels of Gujarat and Jats of haryana want quotas. In 2015, the Patels of Gujarat protested demanding OBC status. In Gujarat, 27% seats are reserved for OBCs. The protesters argued that they are economically backward. They refused to negotiate and unleashed violence. Their leader Hardik Patel was arrested. The movement is now on standby, but the violence drew nationwide attention. This includes the Jats of Haryana who had already been demanding OBC status. The Jats are already considered OBCs in four states, but they want it to be extended to all states. In 2016, their protest led to loss of life and property. The Jats are a powerful and prosperous community and they are eyeing the benefits of being 'backward'

In 2014, the Congress-led UPA government even issued a notification in their favour. But the court struck it down. The need for quotas is a controversial debate and there is no data that gives a yes or no answer. So the government must at least revise the yardstick.