India Needs a Sincere Debate on Social Mobility

I proposed some radical views way back in 1985 on the changes and after 30 years those are still valid.

I had extensive discussions with a son of the deputy CM who was a close friend and senior at GMC Nagpur and he being from the same class of so called deprived, I had very eloquent and open debate on who should get the underprivileged benefits.

1. Proposal was to get reservation once in academic life
2. In profession/career, they can possibly get it once or may be twice
3. Once the family gets the reservation, the progeny should not get reservations
4. Those with economically backward should be included in the system
5. Those with absence of milieu should also benefit from reservations

Of course, these need refinement but these are still valid. I am for reservation but with major amendments. We cannot be having a section of society with lack or under privileges. We still have to bear it… We all have been victims of reservations sometimes in life but we as a nation have to bear the burden to get those underprivileged unto mark.

It is inaccurate to think that we don’t have extempore and outliers in this community. How can you forget Ambedkar and people of his like from India. Of course, we have the likes of Carl Lewis, Michael Jackson, Williams’s sisters & scores of basketball, music and Hollywood luminaries in United States.

The debate on reservation is not about those outliers, it’s about those who fall within the 2 SD populations. I am not suggesting the reservations should continue in its current form or order. It definitely needs over hauling.

It’s about underprivileged and equal opportunity in non-selected fields. It’s not about a class that is the current beneficiary. Let me rephrase it. Why should, ex a child from business or a Brahmin who is deprived of privileges, not qualify for those? We all know a simple observation, a doctor’s son becomes a doctor easily, a businessman’s son steps in his Dad’s footsteps. A politician’s son can successfully become a politician, of course because of his family connections but more because of the traits he learned while he was growing. A Patel can start running a motel right when he is 18 but change the professional aspirations. Let that doctors kid run a business, or that businessman’s kid become a professional and we realize, they both don’t fare well. Why? They lack the milieu, that environment which nurtured those traits. Milieu imparts a whole lot of advantage. Conversely, it deprives many for lack of it. Summarily, it is those deprived that need an incentive, an opportunity to grow, an equal opportunity, let’s call it reservation. Hardin Patel or few upper class people demanding reservation are not wrong.
The way we want to avoid societal content amongst those enjoying the benefits of current reservation is inappropriate, so also it is wrong to create another class and possibly community of deprived aspirations amongst current non-milieu people. These are my views, unchanged for the last 30 years.

I agree, this system if reservation has been exploited by many including politicians. India is not the only country with reservations. India is not the only country with reservations, if you review current world political order, you will see many countries having those guarantees in place for deprived lot.

Equal opportunity guarantees are again guarantees to a limited sector of opportunities, not a whole life cycle. We in Maharashtra never had reservations for super specialization.

There is no reservation for the post of top executives including top leadership positions like PM, President etc. So, we do have no reservations too. Again, again I am insisting we should have it in certain places and not universal.

To become a smart nation, we need to drop those vestiges of the past and adopt a new model for growth. Just not get and implement technology from the west to develop smart cities. Someone asked me yesterday, let’s understand the upstream questions. You cannot be asking me for a blind folded commitment. So is true here… To have meaningful change, let’s work on people and process. It’s fine to replicate smart models for infrastructure from the west, but to be smart country, let’s change.

Let’s drop these shackles from the past and move on. On reservations, we still have that four tier approach on Sanatan Dharma existed or was created. We should expand it to exclude that model and expand it to include a deprived underprivileged model. That will include a wider gamut of population. It should be about under privileges under deprived (UPUD). Don’t give knee jerk formulated responses; think out of the box on what I suggested and after reflection, we can always talk.

Why India needs a new debate on caste quotas

This needs to change, Now!

2 thoughts on “India Needs a Sincere Debate on Social Mobility”

  1. It requires a long debate and specially from those who are from the reserve category. I am of the view that reservation should continue with some changes. These changes are like following the creamy layer, attainment of certain positions in public and government sectors and so on. It should be for the ones who are downtrodden in those groups. It should be purely on social grounds and not on vote gathering .


    1. Dr. Rawat, way back in 1986, I had stated three principles of continuing reservations – 1) That a person should get reservations two times in his life, once during education and once during his professional life 2) Once a family enoys reservations, the next generation should not get the reservations, and if they do not use the reservations, those should be passed down their generation. 3) The percent of reservations should be maintained for that particular caste or creed as is, so that more layers see an upligtment.

      I am sure, these changes are unlikely to see light, since we have created another creamy layer that does not want those who are downtrodden o enjoy the benefits.


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