great move

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 Jan 2019 12:08:34

THE Government has taken a great step towards a true social justice by agreeing to allow a 10% job and education quota for the poor people in general category. This demand has been pending fire for the past several decades, but there was no political will to support it. Now, the Government led by Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has taken the right step, thus removing one major anomaly in concept of social welfare. For the first time now, economically backward persons will be able to avail of reservations in education and jobs only because they are poor. 

This will mark a major paradigm shift in the country’s welfare effort when caste will not be the only criterion on which affirmative action will be based. Now people from all categories will benefit from the Government’s assistance. This will help bridge a great social divide that was totally uncalled for.

That reservations were available only for people belonging to certain castes, has been a major irritant in Indian social scenario. Deserving youngsters from higher social categories often complained about unfair concept of welfarism, yet could do nothing to rectify matters. With the new move, every category will now stand to benefit. The Government is planning to define what constitutes ‘poor’ and people in that class will get reservations in education and jobs. By taking such a step, the Government has moved closer to achieving higher levels of social justice.

Of course, there are people who allege that the Modi Government has done so with an eye on elections. This allegation has little substance. For, when every other political party has tried to leverage the concept of social justice as an electoral tool in the past seventy-plus years, nobody has any right to criticise the Modi Government just because it has made a right move towards better and equitable opportunities to poor people from socially higher classes beyond their castes.

When the concept of positive affirmation in the form of reservations for backward castes was first thought of, the whole nation supported it. The idea of greater social justice appealed to everybody’s conscience. In subsequent years, however, the concept got stretched beyond the normal idea and every community started asking for reservations in education and jobs. When such demands came from every nook and corner of the society, the entire concept got twisted out of shape. Major political strategies started revolving around the concept of caste-based quota, thus distorting the country’s social discourse beyond recognition. This was something the country had not bargained for.

So cantankerous did the issue become that anybody who tried to talk of extending the idea to economically backward people, got a widespread flak from the political community for no fault of his. So bad did the social atmosphere become that the country witnessed violence on its count as communities clashed without reason, embittering the social atmosphere in the process. An atmosphere of an overall social distrust got created and the new social fault-lines threatened the integrity of social fabric.

Now that the Government has opened an altogether new class -- of poor persons from general category -- things will settle down for a better social atmosphere in the years to come, no matter the opposition from some quarters. Eventually, those who would oppose the new idea will have to fall in line simply because they would not be able to ignore the tremendously positive sentiment the new move would evoke. The National Democratic Alliance Government led by the Bharatia Janata Party has taken a very wise step in favour of greater social justice and equality. When opportunities of growth are available to every deserving person, then the country’s social landscape will become more harmonious and happier. That is the true goal of a welfare state.