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Caste-Based Reservation Could Pause India's Growth Story

20/04/2016 3:33 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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India has toppled China to become the fastest growing economy in the world in 2015. Recently, the world's second largest private equity fund, Carlyle, too said that India is the only market that can provide exponential returns on investment over a period of four years. While these developments are closely tied to the efforts and intentions demonstrated by the Modi government, there's an elephant in the room. I believe that Prime Minister Modi is overlooking a very big and vital factor that might, if not now then later, bring India down. This crucial factor is reservation.

Reservation may discourage students and other people from studying or working harder because they know that they will get a place on the basis of quota.

We have seen many reservation-related protests across India, most recently the Jat stir and the Patidar Andolan. While protests per se are not wrong, these ones were carried out for all the wrong reasons. The basis for these protests should have been a call to provide equal opportunity, not advantages for one particular caste.

Caste-based reservations will do nothing but damage the Indian economy eventually. How? Well, for example let's say a person has been provided employment on caste quota basis (and not on the basis of knowledge). This will, if not now then later on, definitely negatively impact the efficiency of the job. On a macro scale, this inefficiency can drag down India's growth story. Moreover, reservation for a particular caste may discourage students and other people from studying or working harder because they know that they will get a place on the basis of quota. This attitude may prove to be dangerous for India.

I am sure everyone would agree to the fact that reservation is necessary but the basis on which it is provided is wrong. As of now, India provides reservation on the basis of caste, when actually it should be on the basis of yearly income. After all, the main point of providing reservation is to give opportunities to those who cannot afford it.

Providing reservation to a particular caste will not only limit India's growth but also obstruct deserving people from achieving greater heights.

Providing reservation to a particular caste will not only limit India's growth but also obstruct deserving people from achieving greater heights. This prompts the deserving candidate to shun India and its reservations and seek opportunities in more meritocratic societies, thus ending up working towards the progress of another country. India is nailing its own coffin by providing reservation on the basis of caste and not yearly income.

Technically speaking, reservation should not exist in India. In fact, Babasaheb Ambedkar had suggested the reservation system only for 10 years, but it has been extended so many times that it became a part and parcel of any ruling government. Reservation becomes significant when establishing equality among 1.3 billion people is difficult. It is a good thing that reservation, for now, is mostly applicable only in government jobs and not on private companies that are currently driving the Indian economy.

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