right way

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 19 Oct 2017 11:10:54

IT WAS only expected that some higher up person, whose opinion matters, would oppose the idea of job reservations in private sector. This opposition to the concept has come from Mr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman of the NITI Ayog, who has insisted that the idea would prove detrimental to the healthy growth of the private sector where quality and excellence matter the most. 

This assertion by Mr. Rajiv Kumar has come at a time when several political personalities have begun advocating job reservations for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCs, STs) in private sector. Because of the predominance of politics in India’s public affairs, the demand could attract a wider attention. In that case, an actual law creating such arrangement also could be expected. In such a situation, the opinion of the Vice Chairman of the NITI Ayog against job reservations in private sector could be of immense importance and could add much value to the overall national debate on the issue.

Though the concept of caste-based job reservation has been accepted by the country, there still are some critical issues that need to be examined in total seriousness. A large section of Indian society has opposed this move right from Day One when the concept was introduced soon after Independence. The man who is credited to have framed the proposal in this regard -- Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar -- himself was in favour of only time-bound reservations in jobs. Many others, too, had agreed to the limited-purpose idea.

What has transpired subsequently is that the whole nation embraced the concept first for reasons of social equality and equitability, and subsequently for reasons of politics. What was, thus, to be implemented over a time-frame of a decade got stretched to now seven decades, defying all norms of social justice and social empowerment.
So ingrained did the concept get into Indian psyche that economically well-to-do and politically dominating sectors of the larger Indian society started asking for reservations in jobs. Socially, politically and economically advanced communities like the Marathas, the Patels, the Gujjars in Rajasthan, have been agitating for the fulfillment of this demand. This is a menacing trend, to say the least. If this gets extended also to private sector, it might serve only a negative purpose.

For, it is in private sector that performance is considered the lone critical criterion. If the concept of reservation gets introduced as a matter of compulsory implementation, then India’s private sector, too, would run the risk of having to lower the standards of performance. It is out of this concern that Mr. Rajiv Kumar seems to have opposed the idea per se.

Of course, this approach is quite likely to get challenged seriously by protagonists of the concept. They might accuse the likes of Mr. Rajiv Kumar of bias against deprived sections. Such accusations would be unfair, since it would not pertain to reality. Those who oppose the concept are not against any social justice. All they wish to assert is that the country need not stretch the concept of reservations in jobs to ridiculous extent.

This is really a critical issue, and the larger Indian society can only ill-afford to ignore its various dimensions in the national debate. What India requires at this juncture is not a blind signing on the dotted line only to sound politically correct, but a sane approach to the issue of employment generation. In the rapidly changing times where the technology is getting the better of human component, let us take a route along which quality would matter most and not the caste of a person. The country needs to thinking positively about a possible casteless system of employment for a quicker progress.