Letters to the editor

Readers’ comments: The solution is to end reservations, not increase them

Readers respond a Scroll.in article questioning the 50% cap on reserved seats.

Quota question

Reservations should not be neither scrapped or increased but should be reformed based on ground realities (“What justifies an arbitrary 50% cap on reservations – when upper caste numbers are much smaller?”). It is rather shameful that even about 70 years after the controversial reservation policy was introduced, only a handful of the truly needy have benefitted from it. Meanwhile, the caste system and discrimination has not ended yet; we have a long way to go. But it is time to address the growing gap within the so-called backward classes. – Ashish Mann

***

This is a narrow, biased article. The author probably did not understand the reservation policy. There is are no seats for the upper caste – the 50% unreserved seats are open to all. In reality, even many of those unreserved seats go to talented candidates from lower castes. As a result, reserved category sections occupy about 75% of all seats. So, please urge the government to allow the quota to each of the caste in proportion to their population. Will casteist politicians accept this? Scroll.in should not post caste-based articles on flawed premises. – Nilay Banerjee

***

If such is the case, why not make an upper caste category proportionate to their population and let the rest of the seats be unreserved? – Sanu Sinha

***

I was very disappointed with this article. The concept of reservation was introduced 70 years ago to uplift underprivileged people who had been denied representation in social, political and economic life for generations, resulting in an imbalance. It was to be given only for the first 10 years of Independence, as BR Ambedkar had recommended. But after at least three working generations since 1947, do we still need caste-based reservation?

We have quotas in schools, colleges, professional courses, government jobs and even promotions! And not all those who belong to the so-called lower classes are actually disadvantaged. Many come from well-off families and have good exposure.

What we need is reservation based on economic condition, not caste.

Media should help promote unity by reflecting the reality of society. Don’t encourage more divisions by encouraging caste-based reservations. – CA Nandan Khambete

***

Reservations in education and jobs were meant as an enabling Constitutional provision, not a right. There are many in the backward classes who can get seats on merit too, so 50% reservation is more than adequate. Effectively, those from reserved categories can compete in open seats as well, giving them two avenues, while the general category students have just one. With the passage of time since Independence, the social fabric has changed and reservations need to be scaled down to 30%. – Keshab Sarmah

***

This 50% is not reserved for upper castes, it is for the meritorious among the entire population. Caste-based reservations need to be done away with altogether. – Av Ramana

***

This is absurd. Reservations are not given on the basis of who is in majority but on who needs it most. And when you take into account that fact that much of the reserved seats are not benefiting the needy but those from wealthy families that happen to be born into the so-called lower castes, you would have thought about how to stop caste-based reservation instead of increasing its scope. – Nikhil Kapoor

***

It’s not as though the remaining 50% seats are reserved for the upper castes.We expect better journalistic standards from Scroll.in. – Rajat Dutta

***

Stop supporting caste-based reservation. And if at all you do talk about, please press for reservation for the upper caste. It hurts a candidate when, despite getting 75% marks, they do not get into a college of their choice, whereas a reserved category student from a well-to-do background can do so with just 45% marks. Yes, reservation is required, but it should be based on economic condition and not caste. And instead of just reserving seats for them, there should be affirmative action in the form of special training and remedial classes for free or discounted rates, to bring them on a par with those from privileged backgrounds so that at some level, it is merit and not reservation that takes them ahead. – Solil Jain

***

There are many reasons to end caste-based reservations altogether. This was only meant to be a temporary measure anyway, but was abused for political gains. This is holding the country back. – Surpiya Halder

***

A 50% cap on reservation does not mean that underprivileged classes cannot occupy more than 50% of the seats, it means that only half the seats are meant exclusively for them. They can continue to compete in the Open Category. Instead of increasing reservation, India needs to focus on how to make sure it reaches those who really need it, and works more effectively. In the way it is implemented at present, reservation does not ensure representation. Please understand how reservation works. – Razeet Ameer

***

This article is biased and does not seem to understand the ground realities. The unreserved seats are not only for upper castes. Also, the author points out that the 50% quota is based on the 1931 census, post which the demographic structure has changed significantly. But he fails to point out that the financial and social status of these caste has also changed. The reality is that many of those who corner the benefits of reservation are not underprivileged even if they are born into the backward classes. Politicians, because of their vote banks, will not dismantle the system, but we can at least expect the media not to support reservation in its current form. – Rohit Srivastava

***

The author does not seem to understand reservation.The unreserved category is open to all, not just upper castes. Such articles bring down the quality of your portal. – Aryan

***

The word “merit” does not appear even once in the article. The remaining 50% seats are meant to be taken on merit, not just for upper castes. The lack of respect for merit is the reason for brain drain. – Goutham Kamepalli

***

If one does a study on this, they will certainly find that in reality, no more than 10% or 20% seats are occupied by general category candidates. – Khajanchi Lal

***

BR Ambedkar had agreed to reservations for a decade only, but it has continued for over 70 years because of political compulsions. The booming population has added to the job scarcity and hence the demand for even more quotas. Brahmans, Marathas, Patels – all of them want reservations for their communities. By capping reservation at 50%, the Supreme Court has tried to do some damage control, because the needy are not benefiting from the system at all. – Prashant Tendulkar

***

Quotas were envisioned as a way to uplift backward communities but today even powerful communities are demanding reservation. They believe their stature has deteriorated with time and they are on a par with or even more disadvantaged than reserved communities.The irony is that instead of uplifting Indian society the reservation system has just made things worse. – Snehashis Pattanayak

***

Well, if you want to extend reservation beyond 50%, then it should be ensured that 30% of the seats are earmarked exclusively for the so-called upper castes. Else, the creamy layer exclusion should be strictly enforced, so that only the needy get reserved seats. Also, what about poor people from the general category? – Kamal Rekhari

***

Do you know why reservation is given and how it was expected to affect the reserved and non reserved classes? It was a means to uplift the social (not economic) status of the downtrodden classes of our country. This is why we don’t have an income cap.

You seem to suggest that 80% seats should be reserved. But even the remaining 20% will be open to all, they won’t be reserved for upper c;asses. Already, many of the general category seats are cornered by reserved category students. So, social upliftment, which is achieved by giving equal rights and access to everyone, will turn on its head. This will also reduce competitiveness. – Sam Gloster

***

What justifies caste-based reservations on the basis of caste, especially for OBCs, when it isn’t even Constitutional? A large number of castes covered are rich economically, socially and politically, like Yadavs and Kurmis. They possess large landholdings too. And now Jats, Gurjars, Patel and Marathas are also demanding reservations. These are among the most powerful castes. Time has come to review the reservation system as a whole and provide it only to the needy. Further, it should be limited to one or a few generations and not in perpetuity. – SK Sharad

***

This article is like rubbing salt on our wounds. I am a general category student and gave many entrance exams. Despite a decent rank, I did not get into any IIT though many reserved category students got seats in good institutes despite having a far lower rank. – Kumar Shubham

***

This article reflects the widely held misconceptions about the reservation system. Firstly, it seeks to support the reservation system which is an indirect support to the caste system, something no modern Indian should do. Secondly, and more importantly, it fails to recognise that the 50% seats that are for general category, they are in fact open seats, which means people from all classes can vie for them. This means that in reality, the number of students recruited from reserved sections far exceeds 50%. General category people too are the citizens of this country with equal dreams and aspirations. – Sanket Agarwal

***

One can increase the cap, but then those seats should be reserved for general category students only. Soon, all seats will be reserved then, for one or the other class, and all meritorious students will leave the country. The clause of equality can then be struck down from the Constitution. – Nirbhay Gor

***

Admissions should be solely merit based. Today, there is a level playing field for everyone. – RK Arora

***

Why not scrap reservations altogether? Why divide the nation on caste lines? From South India’s Reddys to North Indian Jats, everyone wants a share in the pie. Where is the limit? – Prashanth Thudi

***

Please don’t kill merit. Moreover, the 50% unreserved seats are not for upper castes alone, but for all categories. – Aditya Shrivastava

***

Please understand how hard it has become for general category students who are poor. Come to the villages and see how general category students who cannot afford anything live their lives. Reservations should not be cast based, they should be based on economic situation. – Vishwas Joshi

***

This article seems to be promoting the policy of reservations, something that is downright illogical and unjust. Instead of questioning why reservation is capped at 50% , the media should be asking why the system of reservation persists even though it was to be abolished after 10 years of its implementation. Shouldn’t reservation be based on economic status rather than caste? In today’s India, economic backwardness is not equal to caste. A drastic change in the system is needed, and the media and citizens must understand how reservation hurts the nation. – Ritwik Mishra

***

The quota system has already slowed down India’s development and has resulted in brain drain. Children from affluent families are getting reserved seats because they are born into the so-called lower castes while economically weak students from supposed upper castes are not getting admission. – Tariprasad Das

***

Reservations should be only for the disabled. For others, assistance should be provided in the form of free books, clothes, scholarships and the like, and should be based on economic condition and not caste. – Ashok Kumar Gudadur

***

What about merit? I am against reservation as a whole. The Supreme Court set that cap so that there is at least some room for meritocracy in India. – Pallav Sachar

***

I understand that the Indian government pushes things without checking the ground reality. This is one of the major drawbacks of the Indian democracy. However, if we talk about ground realities, why not look at those in terms of the impact of reservations, rather than its numerics? The basis on which quotas are given needs to change, not the number of reserved seats. – Anamika Modi

***

At least half the seats should be filled on the basis of merit. If any country at large believes that minority of the seats should be filled by merit and majority based on quotas, then that country will be doomed. This will increase brain drain. Nobody has evaluated whether reservation has had the intended effects. Reservations should be based on economic conditions. – Nirmal Patel

***

Please see the reality of the situation. The benefits of reservation are being cornered by a few privileged families, I have seen so myself. Was reservation meant to uplift the backward classes as a whole, or just a select few who had the money and means to send their children to the costliest schools and colleges even without quotas? – Rajesh Garg

***

The author is unaware of ground realities. All general category people are not born mansions. The author should be talking about abolishing reservation instead of increasing the cap. – Siddhartha Bharadwaj

***

Law does operate purely. The 50% limit for reservation has an interpretative base, following the “rule of harmonious construction”, which is the basic structure of the Constitution. The Supreme Court is bound to follow it by reading it together with the fundamental rights and directive principles. – Ganesh Jadhav

***

Reservation needs to go, we need economic support for those who require it. Let there be healthy competition that encourages talent. – Venkata Mohan

***

The author of this article seems to have conveniently forgotten that original Constitution and Babasaheb Ambedkar had envisioned reservation for 10 years which could be extended by another 10 years if needed. Ambedkar was not in favour reservation in perpetuity. – Venu Kumar

***

Has there been a thorough analysis of what percentage of backward caste candidates has successfully completed their education or performed well in their respective jobs? This should tell us if reservation has indeed worked. – URK Rao

***

Reservation should be rolled back or altered and extended to people below the poverty line, irrespective of caste and that too for a limited period. And it is the responsibility of the government to show us what they have achieved through reservation in all these years and how it has benefited the nation. – Vishnu Kayarat

***

While I admire you writing with such grace on why the upper limit should be increased, you seem to have turned a blind eye to how seat allocations are done. Students from OBC sections or other reserved categories can still vie for general seats, but the reverse is not possible. – Sanjay Pai

***

Why can’t merit be the criteria and not caste? The first priority should be efficient work. – Saumya Samantaray

***

All college admissions and job allotments should be based on merit. A 50% cap on reservation is more than enough. If you kill merit to reservation, how will the country progress? – Sunil Yadav

***

Even privileged castes are not a homogeneous category. Reservation is a step towards poverty alleviation and to ensure minimum representation of all the groups of the society. So, it is good to have a 50-50 balance between reservation and merit. – Rajesh Kumar Dixit

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Do you really need to use that plastic straw?

The hazards of single-use plastic items, and what to use instead.

In June 2018, a distressed whale in Thailand made headlines around the world. After an autopsy it’s cause of death was determined to be more than 80 plastic bags it had ingested. The pictures caused great concern and brought into focus the urgency of the fight against single-use plastic. This term refers to use-and-throw plastic products that are designed for one-time use, such as takeaway spoons and forks, polythene bags styrofoam cups etc. In its report on single-use plastics, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has described how single-use plastics have a far-reaching impact in the environment.

Dense quantity of plastic litter means sights such as the distressed whale in Thailand aren’t uncommon. Plastic products have been found in the airways and stomachs of hundreds of marine and land species. Plastic bags, especially, confuse turtles who mistake them for jellyfish - their food. They can even exacerbate health crises, such as a malarial outbreak, by clogging sewers and creating ideal conditions for vector-borne diseases to thrive. In 1988, poor drainage made worse by plastic clogging contributed to the devastating Bangladesh floods in which two-thirds of the country was submerged.

Plastic litter can, moreover, cause physiological harm. Burning plastic waste for cooking fuel and in open air pits releases harmful gases in the air, contributing to poor air quality especially in poorer countries where these practices are common. But plastic needn’t even be burned to cause physiological harm. The toxic chemical additives in the manufacturing process of plastics remain in animal tissue, which is then consumed by humans. These highly toxic and carcinogenic substances (benzene, styrene etc.) can cause damage to nervous systems, lungs and reproductive organs.

The European Commission recently released a list of top 10 single-use plastic items that it plans to ban in the near future. These items are ubiquitous as trash across the world’s beaches, even the pristine, seemingly untouched ones. Some of them, such as styrofoam cups, take up to a 1,000 years to photodegrade (the breakdown of substances by exposure to UV and infrared rays from sunlight), disintegrating into microplastics, another health hazard.

More than 60 countries have introduced levies and bans to discourage the use of single-use plastics. Morocco and Rwanda have emerged as inspiring success stories of such policies. Rwanda, in fact, is now among the cleanest countries on Earth. In India, Maharashtra became the 18th state to effect a ban on disposable plastic items in March 2018. Now India plans to replicate the decision on a national level, aiming to eliminate single-use plastics entirely by 2022. While government efforts are important to encourage industries to redesign their production methods, individuals too can take steps to minimise their consumption, and littering, of single-use plastics. Most of these actions are low on effort, but can cause a significant reduction in plastic waste in the environment, if the return of Olive Ridley turtles to a Mumbai beach are anything to go by.

To know more about the single-use plastics problem, visit Planet or Plastic portal, National Geographic’s multi-year effort to raise awareness about the global plastic trash crisis. From microplastics in cosmetics to haunting art on plastic pollution, Planet or Plastic is a comprehensive resource on the problem. You can take the pledge to reduce your use of single-use plastics, here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic, and not by the Scroll editorial team.