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Religion, Caste And Tribe Based Reservation - 3
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Talks with PM fail, medicos continue stir </b>
Staff Reporter | New Delhi
A meeting of striking doctors with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday did not yield any solution in the ongoing impasse over reservation.   

However, the PM did say that no action would be taken against agitating doctors. Infact, Singh reportedly drew a blank when asked by students as to how would he be able to increase the number of seats in a few months given the magnitude of logistics.

The meeting was attended by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) director P Venugopal, Health Secretary PC Hota and 12 representatives of the Youth For Equality group.

<b>"The Prime Minister has assured us that there will be no action taken against the agitating medicos at AIIMS," said Youth for Equality member Dr Vidya Nair.</b>

The medicos set aside rumours that the strike was being called off. The members had a two-hour general body meeting at AIIMS after meeting the Prime Minister where it was decided that the strike was still on until everything is provided to them in "black and white".

<b>"We will call off the strike only after all the legal aspects have been taken into account. Tomorrow we are going ahead with the rally," said a medico.</b>

On their demand for preparing a non-political judicial committee, the PM answered: "The atmosphere is not conducive for that at the moment."

<b>The medicos, however, took solace in the fact the PM assured that quota would not be increased to more than 50 per cent in the future. </b>

The students were busy preparing for the maha rally scheduled for Saturday evening. The central lawns at AIIMS bore a deserted look on Friday.

Majority of the medicos were busy fanning out pamphlets at traffic intersections in buses and in market places.

<b>The agitating medicos had a late night meeting on Thursday with Union Minister Oscar Fernandes on "specific demands" of setting up review the existing reservation policy</b>.

In about 25 students were sitting at the hunger strike at AIIMS. Few doctors from Bara Hindu Rao Hospital also joined the hunger strike within the premises of their college.

Parallel OPD was also non-functional for the third consecutive day which crippled the medical facilities at the hospitals across the Capital. The walk-in-interviews at LNJP and LHMC hospitals were stalled by the agitating doctors.
<b>Will quotas help or harm the Cong?</b> <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->When Arjun Singh decided to play the Mandal card 15 years later, he may not have realized that India had moved ahead during this period. With high growth rates in a buoyant economy, the appearance of an assertive upper and middle class estimated to number around 300 million, and a decline in poverty levels from 38.9 in 1987-88 and 36 in 1993-94 to 26.1 in 1999-2000 (which may have fallen even further), the ‘socialist’ cause no longer sets hearts aflutter.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->It is more than likely that the backward caste votes will continue to be cornered by the OBC-dominated parties of Lalu Yadav, Sharad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav while the upper caste votes, as well as the votes of whoever opposes reservations, will be secured by the BJP. As a result, the Congress will fall between two stools.

The Congress made the same mistake in 1990 when it opened the locks of the Babri masjid and organized a shilanyas for the proposed Ram temple in the masjid complex to win over the Hindu votes, then being aggressively sought by the BJP with its mandir wohin banayenge campaign. But the fallout was that the Congress alienated the Muslims without being able to win over the Hindu votes.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The government’s response involved, first, the classic delaying tactics of setting up a committee to examine the matter. Then, it decided to increase the number of ‘general category’ seats, which also is timeconsuming.

So, even if some of the sting has been taken out of Arjun Singh’s efforts to embarrass the prime minister, the Congress may still suffer because of the HRD minister’s grouses and ambitions
<b>Arjun agenda: Quota at home, academic excellence for Saudis</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->NEW DELHI, MAY 26:The timing couldn’t have been better chosen. Having dropped the OBC quota bombshell, having forced the pace on a sensitive issue and then leaving it to the rest of the Government to clean up the mess, Human Resource Development (HRD) minister Arjun Singh is flying off to the Middle East on Monday on a 10-day trip. And the irony of ironies: he is going to Saudi Arabia to help them set up institutes of academic excellence..............<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>Way out of reservation</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->For the sake of brevity, I have tried to encapsulate my proposed solution in the form of a package of recommended lines of action.
<b>First</b>, we need to provide equal access and equal opportunity to free quality education to everyone, irrespective of caste, creed, and economic status, right from the primary to the higher secondary school level. For this we will need to build reasonably good schools equipped with modern teaching and learning facilities, recruit and train teachers in large numbers, and entrust the management of these schools to panchayati raj institutions.

<b>Second</b>, for students from the underprivileged sections of society, we need to provide free lodging and boarding in school hostels so that they have a congenial environment for learning. Gujarat’s Ashram Shala schools are a good example of this kind of school.

<b>Third</b>, we need to revise curricula and textbooks at all levels so as to make education more relevant to the needs of the present generation. The same curriculum should be followed all over the country in all schools, as is done in all the developed countries of the world.

<b>If the first three suggestions are implemented effectively, all the students will have equal access and equal opportunity to quality education of the same standard all over the country, and there will not be any need to claim reservation on the basis of caste, class or creed. Only merit should then be the basis for admission into undergraduate and post-graduate level courses, with the income of the parents deciding whether or not the student should be entitled to financial assistance</b>.

The money — estimated at Rs 8,000 crore — required for increasing the number of seats in institutes of higher learning, could be better spent in building and strengthening basic infrastructure in primary, secondary, and higher secondary schools in the country, and in the training of teachers.

Very good suggestion, this approach will do wonders, but will not bring votes to greedy politicians.
<b>Medicos to continue strike over OBC quota</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The medicos along with numerous supporters from various streams have gathered at the Ramlila Ground in Delhi for a rally to protest the proposed reservations for OBCs.

While the government has announced that the quota would be implemented from next year, the process of increasing seats in various medical institutes will take about three to four years, Patro said.

"If the increase in seats will take place over so many years, the implementation of the quota should also occur in phases," he demanded.

The medicos have also been demanding the setting up of a committee of experts to review the reservation policy, on which there has not been any word from the government.

Hundreds of traders, chemists, teachers and representatives of the Indian Medical Association and RWAs joined the "Delhi Aao Desh Bachao" rally organised by the striking medicos
<b>Man attempts self-immolation</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->A man tried to attempt self-immolation during a rally organised on Saturday by the striking medicos against the government's reservation policy.

Twentythree-year-old Rishi from East Delhi was immediately rushed to Lok Nayak Jaiprakash hospital after he tried to set himself afire at the Ramlila grounds

In a show of strength against the Government on OBC reservation, striking doctors and medical students held the "Dilli Aao Desh Bachao" protest rally in Delhi which was attended by scores of anti-reservation activists from across the country.

Waving placards and raising anti-government, anti-quota slogans 'Abolish <b>Reservation' and 'Down with Reservation', thousands of protestors from several cities, under the aegis of Youth for Equality, paraded from Veerbhoomi and converged at the Ramlila Ground.</b>

The protestors included resident and junior doctors from several hospitals from across the capital and several cities, including Meerut, Jaipur, Amritsar, Rohtak and Patiala, striking medical students, who are on an indefinite hunger strike since May 13, students from several institutions and organisations, including JNU, IIT, Delhi University, Indraprastha University and schools.

Support poured from people of all walks of life, including lawyers, resident welfare associations, parents, non-government organisations, senior citizens, chartered accountants and representatives from corporate houses, besides backing from the medical fraternity including IMA, DMA, senior doctors, professors and doctors from private hospitals.

Stepping up the offensive against the government after the first round of talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh failed to resolve 14-day impasse on OBC quota, they were demanding a "written assurance" from the government on the issues raised by them.

"We are not against reservation on economic grounds but we are against reservation on the basis of caste, which will disintegrate the society," Dr Neha Gami from Maulana Azad Medical College and Youth for Equality leader said.

<b>"Even former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had criticised VP Singh government in the Lok Sabha in 1990 post Mandal Commission for dividing the country on caste lines," she added.</b>

Talking about the overwhelming public response against caste-based reservations, she said it was not just doctors' agitation, the government should be able to make this out from the day's rally.

Self immolation is not good. Why to kill themselves they should make these ministers to take these steps.
<!--emo&:argue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/argue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='argue.gif' /><!--endemo--> Against quota and caste

Politicians, who never fail to let a good photo-op pass, were in for a rude shock when students and resident doctors on hunger strike at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the capital refused to bite their bait. After some little known leaders began inciting the students with their speeches, liberally sprinkled with casteist remarks, the students made their displeasure obvious. Instead of a resounding round of claps, which these self-styled leaders were hoping for, the students asked them to leave the premises.

A senior BJP leader who tried to show concern by offering to check their blood glucose levels was also snubbed. The protesting doctors reminded him that they might be on strike but have not forgotten the basics of medicine.

<img src='http://epaper.hindustantimes.com/Web/Photographs/2006/05/27/001/27_05_2006_001_005_002.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

How ironic that the BBC should be running a series called Giants, comparing India and China, at the very moment that our government is making it clear that it will ensure that India is forced back into its earlier pygmy days. How ironic that India should have begun this year by so overwhelming the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos that people still talk of the ‘India Everywhere’ campaign as one of the most successful ever. <b>By the time Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and their Marxist allies have finished with us we will look back on that campaign with nostalgia because it is as if they are conspiring to ensure that we regain the depths of backwardness in which we dwelled in those dark socialist days. </b><b>A whole new meaning will attach to the acronym OBC when we go back to being just that other backward country.
Ask anyone what India needs from its government and the answer is: infrastructure. From the shining chambers of corporate Mumbai to the poorest mud hut villages of rural India I meet people daily who spell out India’s needs in almost the same words. Bijli, pani, sadak, of course, but also schools, colleges, sanitation, healthcare and housing. Without these things we will continue with the shaming situation of having more than 30 per cent of our people living in conditions so bad that animals in developed countries live better.

Ostensibly it is to help the wretched and the educationally backward that the Government gives us 27 per cent OBC reservation, the tribal rights Bill and the Employment Guarantee Scheme. But look more closely at these efforts and you realise that when implemented they will achieve for India universal backwardness.

We should know this considering that we spent our first 40 years of Independence distributing poverty, but we seem doomed to be ruled by people who do not learn from history.

Examine with me for a moment the ‘‘social justice’’ measures that the Sonia-Manmohan government has put in place. The Employment Guarantee Scheme that when implemented fully will cost more than Rs 40,000 crore (the same as Atal Behari Vajpayee’s highway programme) seeks to guarantee 100 days of employment a year. Please go and meet an Indian family who lives on a hundred days of employment a year and you will find that they can afford to give the smallest of their children only one meal of watery gruel a day. When the children begin to die they are rushed to the nearest hospital where the government arranges, under another misguided government scheme, for the starving child to be given Rs 40 a day for its nourishment. It survives and goes home to start starving again. Instead, if the money were spent on roads in our more backward districts people would have more than 100 days of work building them and would be empowered because roads provide access to the 21st century.

On OBC reservations the government now plans to implement the 27 per cent quota as well as increase the number of seats for those who achieve higher learning for reasons other than caste. <b>This is an impossible thing to achieve because teachers and colleges do not just sprout out of the ground at the waving of a magic wand, but we will be spending at least another Rs 10,000 crore on trying to achieve this educational form of social justice. Please keep in mind, will you, that many of the quotas reserved for Scheduled Castes and Tribes go unfilled because the schools they attend are so bad that the dropout rate before high school is more than 70 per cent. Is this social justice or a sham?</b>

No sooner have we digested this than we will be hit with the Bill that will give Adivasis the right to cultivate and occupy forest land. This will mean the end of our forests because in Adivasi areas governance is so lax that when the timber mafias move in there will be nobody to stop them. Please remember that a minister in the Maharashtra government is currently in jail for allowing timber merchants to function on the edge of a sanctuary.

By the time this government is done with its social justice measures, India will be not just backward but a wasteland. After the revelations in the Mitrokhin Archive II, published last year, we need to wonder seriously if what we are not seeing is the return of the ‘‘foreign hand’’. In this book the former KGB spymaster reveals how the KGB duped Indira Gandhi into believing that the CIA was the ‘‘foreign hand’’. In fact it was always the KGB. Mitrokhin reveals that many prominent ministers in Mrs Gandhi’s government and nearly all our Marxists were owned by the KGB. Is something similar happening again?
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Reservation or retrogression? </b>
Arun Nehru |
Politics is about creating 'vote-banks' and the 'reservation' game being played is essentially to divide the other backward classes (OBC) as also to check mate Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav in the Assembly election early next year. The battle of words has been going on for many months now. It is obvious from the way Mr Mulayam Singh and his family have been targeted along with Mr Amar Singh and his 'friends'.

Former Samajwadi Party Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan, a close comrade of Mr Amar Singh, lost her membership of the Rajya Sabha, while industrialist Anil Ambani gave up the battle for the Mumbai and Delhi airports. The list is long but it seems that no one is prepared to fight a pitched political battle on the ground.

<b>Congress president Sonia Gandhi is simply not capable of this, while her son Rahul Gandhi seems reluctant to take charge of Uttar Pradesh. The intention, therefore, is to use Ms Mayawati and her Bahujan Samaj Party in some form or the other. There has always been an attempt to use the 'reservation' issue as a secret weapon against Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav and the Samajwadi Party.

In reality things have been quite to the contrary. Former Prime Minister VP Singh spent his entire career in the Congress, as has Union Human Resource Minister Arjun Singh. In 1990, Mr VP Singh, who was looking at garnering the minorities/OBC votes, tried to woo both; however, history bears witness that its benefits went to Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav in UP and Bihar.</b> <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->

It was the Yadav leaders who believed in Mandal and implemented it in their politics. Ironically, the Janata Dal(U) has Mr Sharad Yadav as the president. Both Mr VP Singh and Mr Arjun Singh have very little in common with OBC politics; they seem to realise its importance only before election. What is important to note is that 2006 is very different from 1990 and efforts to legislate or force industry chiefs to implement quotas and inflict institutes of higher learning with caste, will only bring negative results for the country.

I am truly amazed that those in senior positions in governance can make juvenile statements of creating increased seats in institutes as a solution, knowing full well that such additional facilities require a great deal of effort and time. Ms Sonia Gandhi, the power behind the chair , maintains a 'deafening' silence and perhaps those who demand 'justice' should appeal to 10, Janpath for action. Two members of the Knowledge Commission resigned recently and I feel they have done the right thing. After all, there is little time for logic in matters of political expediency. I sincerely hope, that no one is hurt in this confusion.

What is better ? reservations or this ?
I hope this is the last time middle class takes elections lightly. They took it for granted, neglected their duty and let a performing govt. which has given importance to growth, infrastructure to go down. They went on vacation and stupid middle class in Bombay, Delhi did not even care. They thought that all the growth is automatic. They forgot India was destroyed for 50 years before COMMIES, CON(gress) men led by the disgustunng DIE-NASTY. Now this is the lesson for people. The verdict has been interpreted by losers like COMMIES, and anti-national news papers, news channels such as TOI, outlookindia, NDTV as a vote against economic liberalization and vote for communal/caste politics. Now if this reservation is not nipped in the bud by people, the disgusting ITALIAN garbage and low-life SCUMS such as Arjun Singh and sh1t like COMMIES will go ahead and destory India totally by imposing private sector reservation. That will be the end of India as we know. Let us hope this spreads and this sh!t government falls down.



Anti-reservation strike to continue, more join in

<!--emo&:bhappy--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/b_woot.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='b_woot.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:clapping--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/clap.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='clap.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Sunday bowed to the relentless pressure from striking medicos to make fresh concessions, but failed to get the protesters to call off the fortnight-long strike which has crippled health services across the country and is fraught with the risk of becoming the catalyst for a larger anti-quota movement.

In fact, the agitation was threatening to spread with Delhi Medical Association calling for private practitioners to stop work on Wednesday, and large sections of students in JNU set to launch an indefinite hunger strike from Monday, in defiance of the stand of the Marxist-controlled students’ union.

Coming hot on the heels of IIT students joining forces with medicos, the agitation seemed to be gaining fresh momentum, belying signs over the weekend that fatigue and the realisation about the irreversibility of OBC quota might lead them to opt for a settlement soon.

Anxious to resolve the stalemate, government on Sunday made the most categorical-ever commitment, in fact a written pledge, that the number of general-category seats would not be reduced after 27% quota came in force from June 2007. It also promised not to penalise the agitators. Likewise, it sought to allay suspicions that expansion of the infrastructure may get consigned to the backburner by naming Congress leader and former Karnataka chief minister, Veerappa Moily, as the head of the proposed Oversight Committee which will oversee the exercise.

The formal announcement about its already-known move to raise the retirement age of professors from 60 to 65 seemed to have been motivated by the same concern.

Further, the Centre said that it was open to the demand by the striking medicos for an expert committee or commission to look at the country’s reservation policy.

I recommend you guys a blogsite that I came across. Worth reading. I changed my stance on reservation after reading articles from below blogsite.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>SC to hear petition on reservation</b>NDTV Correspondent
Monday, May 29, 2006 (New Delhi):

The Supreme Court will hear a petition that seeks regular reviews of reservation and definition of the term 'creamy layer' used in the issue.

Lawyer Ashok Thakur filed the petition which also points out that India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was against reservations.

The petition says quotas infringe on fundamental rights of citizens and they should be judicially reviewed.

<b>Caste-employment ratio </b>
<b>According to the National Sample Survey data the share of employment of SC, STs and OBCs is already proportionate to their share of population, the petition points out.</b>

The current statistics on OBCs are outdated, incorrect, or fictitious as the last caste survey was conducted in 1931.

If recommendation for reservation is to be accepted there must be new survey to get percentage of OBCs in population.

<b>If proposal for reservation is implemented, the chances for college admission for SC and ST will be a 117 percent and OBCs will be 94 percent, according to the petition. </b>
<!--QuoteBegin-loubega11+May 29 2006, 08:12 AM-->QUOTE(loubega11 @ May 29 2006, 08:12 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->I recommend you guys a blogsite that I came across. Worth reading. I changed my stance on reservation after reading articles from below blogsite.
Blog-pimping. This is a pro-reservation blog with very little activity. Better left well alone.
A mess made by government

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Quotas: A mess made by government
By Kuldip Nayar

It is a government-made mess. First, the human resources development ministry sends a circular to the Cabinet Secretariat to provide reservations for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) at Central educational institutes, including the Indian Institute of Technology, the Indian Institute of Management and advanced medical colleges.

This is done even when there is no demand raised for it. The 93rd Constitutional Amendment, passed earlier in the year, had provided reservations without raising an eyebrow. The government could have stopped at that. But then both the Congress and the BJP wanted to have their vote banks among the OBCs. These are the two parties who are mainly responsible for pushing the pace and its fallout.

When the circular raises a storm, the PMO wakes up, not knowing why the HRD ministry has issued the instruction. Medical students who took the lead to protest against reservations are consulted; some others also. Yes, they have a point of view, it is realised. But before the consultations reach any concrete stage, the government announces its decision to reserve 27 per cent seats for OBCs.

North India was already in the grip of the agitation. The government added fuel to the fire. The suspicion is that HRD minister Arjun Singh had an "agenda." It is difficult to imagine him doing anything important like reservations without consulting Congress president Sonia Gandhi.  However, it is clear that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was among those who also ran. He must have felt embarrassed because he had assured the students that all sections would be heard and accommodated.

Had the announcement for reservations come with the assurance that the creamy layer among the OBCs and the Dalits would forfeit the concessions — such an advice was given by the Supreme Court years ago — the situation might have taken a different turn. The protesters would have felt somewhat mollified.

<b>The argument that the creamy layer among the upper castes continues to have access to the best of education, makes little sense. They do not get any advantage from the government.</b> Here we are talking about reservations. And it is regrettable that a particular category in the lower castes goes on appropriating the advantages which should go to the people below.

Children of the late President K.R. Narayanan had the best of education abroad, still his daughter got into the Foreign Service through the Dalit quota. The basis for reservations is mainly the discrimination which the Dalits have faced for centuries and still do. The OBCs have also suffered, but not on account of untouchability. It seems that they would have agreed to a lower quota, particularly when their children are getting selected in the general category.

What is surprising is that the ruling United Progressive Alliance — including the Left — <b>has given scant attention to the fact that the nation would be further divided on the basis of caste, a factor that has trivialised society</b>. An outgoing member of the Knowledge Commission has rightly said that, <b>"The government is in the process of making caste the only reality in India."</b> The two members who have resigned from the Commission are not against the principle of social inclusion, but have questioned motives behind the quotas, calling them detrimental to the development of society.

No doubt, the government's decision will reserve more seats. But the experience about filling such seats has not been too happy. <b>Some 1,100 seats for Dalits and tribals remain vacant every year in Delhi University alone.</b> The task before the government should have been to look for ways to find suitable candidates. The thing which we must take note of is that those for whom reservations are provided, still fall short of the minimum standard. <b>So, ultimately, we are watering down excellence. </b>

This may affect our stock abroad. The government is, for some reasons, averse to giving pre-admission instruction to OBCs. Students from the general category are understandably irritated. <b>You cannot justify reservations before them on the ground that they have to pay for the sins of their forefathers who treated the low castes badly.</b> Instead, the government's assurance to maintain the number of seats available in the general category may help. It has to do more to win back the confidence of the students.

The government must realise that those who are outside the precinct of reservations are like the smouldering fire which flared up in 1990 when the Mandal Commission's recommendations were implemented and which might take the shape of a conflagration in the future. At the time, it took some years to douse the fire. It may be the same this time. <b>True, students have realised that there is no going back from the reservations announced. But they may nourish a grievance which is not in the interest of the country. </b> <i>{Isn't this what commies want?}</i>

While distributing reservations, there is a case for allotting quota to those communities who have not had any representation in the state. That was what Dr B.R. Ambedkar who piloted the Indian Constitution, assured the nation. This has been awaiting implementation since 1950 when the Constitution began to operate. It means that the concessions for the upper strata of Dalits and OBCs will have to be scaled down. In the present circumstances, it does not seem to be possible because the upper stratum is a vocal lot and attracts media attention.

A better way to deal with the problem would have been to transfer the responsibility of reservation to the states. The South has managed it well, even with reservations going beyond 50 per cent. The DMK government in Tamil Nadu is talking in terms of increasing the percentage. It is different when New Delhi comes into the picture.

Reservations then assume all-India importance and vote politics comes into play. It is different with the states and they do not have to enact even a law to have reservation. It can be done through an executive order. The Supreme Court has upheld the legality of such steps in the Comptroller and Auditor General v Mohanlal Mehrotra case.

It is true that the centuries-old stratification of Hindu society has resulted in the worst type of discrimination against the Dalits and the tribals, and neglect of the OBCs. But it is equally true that reservations initially provided for 10 years are going on and on, and there is no prospect of their lessening. It is time to start thinking of doing away with <b>reservations on the basis of caste and have it instead on the basis of economic criterion. </b>

India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had the caste column deleted from admission forms to schools and colleges. <b>The lowering of the reservation quota can be done at the rate of two per cent every year. Thus in 50 years we will wipe the slate clean. What is important is to instil in the minds of the people that India aims for a casteless society, the ethos of our Independence Movement. </b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Indrajit Hazra, Hindustan Times, 29 May 2006

RED HERRING: - Dr Strangelove

<b>How the PM should stop worrying & learn to love being a casteist leader</b>

THE GOOD Dr Prime Minister has a good Dr Nobel Laureate as a friend who has some very wise things to say about the <b>politics of identity</b>. “A person belongs to many different groups, of which a religious affiliation is only one. To see, for example, a mathematician who happens to be a Muslim by religion mainly in terms of Islamic identity would be to hide more than it reveals... To concentrate only on [9th century mathematician] Al-Khwarizmi’s Islamic identity over his identity as a mathematician would be extremely misleading, and yet he clearly was also a Muslim.” Somehow though, <b>Amartya Sen’s observations don’t seem to have made much of an impression on his buddy, Manmohan Singh. </b>

For, the Prime Minister will be enacting an enabling draft bill that will subsume the goulash of identity markers that make millions of us ‘Indian’. Sen focuses on the debilitating practice of the tag of ‘Muslimhood’ being thrust on people across the world who happen to be Muslim, drowning out anything else they may be. <b>Singh, in the meantime, has joined the ranks of ‘community’ leaders who have herded Indians into their nicely labelled caste pens. Singh and his new-found friends will obviously call it ‘empowerment’. I’d rather call it ‘sucking up to a votebank’. </b>

So who is an OBC? According to the First Backward Classes Commission (known fondly as the Mandal Commission), an OBC has to belong to a caste — thus the ‘caste’-link to a ‘class’ category — or community that fulfils four main characteristics:

i) Low social position in the traditional caste hierarchy of Hindu society.

ii) Lack of general educational advancement among the major section of a caste or community.

iii) Inadequate or no representation in government service.

iv) Inadequate representation in the field of trade, commerce and industry.

The Mandal Commission prepared a list of 2,399 “backward castes or communities”, 837 being categorised as “most backward”. But these ‘indi cators’ in the commission report made in 1980 were based on the 1961 Census. Which makes it not too surprising that while Mandal states that 52 per cent of the nation comprises (comprised?) OBCs, others have wildly varying figures. The 1999-2000 National Sample Survey Organisation puts the OBC population percentage at 32 per cent, while the 1998 National Family Health Survey puts it at 29.8.

For all I care, the percentage of Indians with an urge to raid the fridge after midnight could be 52, 32 or 29.8. Quite unlike the complete empirical firmness of the number 27 — the percentage of seats to be reserved for OBCs in our institutions of higher education. To add to the confusion, of course, there are the OBCs who lie outside the ‘low social position in the traditional caste hierarchy of Hindu society’. The government is a bit fuzzy about whether Muslim OBCs can also line up outside the backgate.

So maybe the best way of defining an OBC is: a caste or community for which the UPA government will be reserving 27 per cent of seats in educational institutions.

Which makes me simultaneously scratch my head and come to another aspect of the <b>Great Indian Fudge: this noble notion of being Indian first and other things after</b>. By firming up the definition of the OBC, it seems to me that the UPA government is telling large sections of the population: <b>you’re OBC first, you’re OBC second and then other things. </b>

Unlike belonging to a religion, belonging to a modern caste-categorisation is not a static thing. Sania Mirza will be a Muslim (among many other things) however many cars she endorses. For the person deemed as an OBC, however, the object is ultimately to break out of OBC-hood. After all, social justice is about providing a crutch till the missing leg starts growing — which, at least in theory, is the whole point of reservations and why people like Ambedkar were keen on a strictly time-bound reservations policy.

But then, who would be politically dumb enough to want ‘backwards’ to wither away and drift into the general mainstream when such groupings can be nourished till kingdom come as a ‘constituency’? <b>Also, it’s way easier than providing social justice to all those who need it. And by pushing for reservations, the ‘secular’ Congress can play Mayawati-Lalu-Mulayam without being oh-so-terribly casteist.</b>

There was a time when I knew families that were pretty clear that their women (convent-educated, fluent in English Bengalis) would marry gents of their caste — or at least of an ‘acceptable’ caste. But as these women grew older (and more desperate to shake off intimations of permanent spinsterhood), their families threw caste considerations to the dogs and they made do with good men from outside the ‘circle’. I figured that caste was finally becoming an anachronism at least in urban India .

Poor fool that I was, I hadn’t reckoned for the UPA government’s go at playing Mad Max Weber. So if a foreigner asks me whether India in 2006 is still a caste-ridden society, my brain will surely frizzle in confusion as I consider Article 15 —<b> “Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth” — and the other sections of the Constitution the UPA government will quote from. </b>

<b>The good Dr Singh and his ministerial colleague, the other Dr Singh, want Indians to be one-dimensionally identified as OBCs, MBCs, etc... never mind whether these tags will help these ‘caste’ entities in the long run or not. (See UP and Bihar for clues.) Now if Manmohan Singh gets shy about proclaiming his government’s casteist credentials because of his latest move, he really shouldn’t. After all, he’ll be helping 52 per cent of Indians. Or is it 32 per cent? Or 29.8? Damn it! Let’s just call them OBCs and play along, shall we?</b>


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Burnt by quota, Cong looks to job act </b>

New Delhi, May 25: <b>Where Arjun Singh’s brainchild has stumbled, the Congress hopes Sonia Gandhi’s pet agenda will score.</b>

With the Other Backward Classes quota hobbling its plans to court “young, urban India” — and bringing no gains in the heartland’s villages either — <b>the party is banking on the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act to widen its vote base</b>.

The Congress is all set to pep up its cadre about the ruling alliance’s “star” legislation and ask them to find out if it’s being properly implemented on the ground.

The party has realised that the scheme — which promises every rural household wage employment for one member for at least 100 days a year —<b> is a better bet in wooing the rural underprivileged than OBC reservation</b>.

The Congress has made no headway among the backward classes of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar with the quota, thanks to the absence of a credible backward-class face in its ranks to counter Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayavati and Lalu Prasad.

So, the party has called a meeting of district Congress committees tomorrow to discuss the job guarantee scheme. It will be inaugurated by Sonia and addressed by Manmohan Singh.

“It’s our way of signalling to the Prime Minister that he must steer the government on a different track, and that is a track which concerns the aam- aadmi and not the sensex-gobbling classes of the cities,” an office-bearer said.

“He must understand that India lives in the villages and not in Noida, Gurgaon and Mumbai.”

The Congress’s district presidents, chief ministers, leaders of legislature parties, state ministers and the state functionary in charge of the job scheme’s implementation will share their experiences with Sonia and the Prime Minister.

To underline the convention’s “grassroots” orientation, the party has also summoned its zilla panchayat chiefs, their assistants and other representatives from the 200 pilot districts where the scheme is being implemented in the first phase.

“The function will not be politicised,” said party general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi. He explained that although the participants will be asked for detailed feedback on implementation in the non-Congress states — where 60 per cent of the selected districts fall — they will not be encouraged to level charges against individuals or try to score political points.

The brief given to them covers four points: how many jobs have been listed in each pilot district, how many job cards have been issued, what the nature of the work (irrigation, PWD, forests and the like) is, and whether the statutory wage is being paid.

Among the early complaints the party has received from non-Congress states are:

In Uttar Pradesh, funds meant for the scheme have been diverted to other programmes, such as food-for-work, by local functionaries of the ruling Samajwadi Party. “The district authorities refuse to listen to members of other parties,” a Congress MLA from eastern Uttar Pradesh alleged.

In Chhattisgarh, the statutory daily wage is Rs 60 but only a little over Rs 40 is being paid.

In Congress-ruled Andhra Pradesh, there has been a “record” number of job takers but in neighbouring Karnataka, ruled by the BJP-Janata Dal (Secular), the scheme hasn’t taken off.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Two Govt reports question Mandal statistics
Rajeev Ranjan Roy | New Delhi
OBC figure 33.5 per cent, not 52 per cent ---- Did the Government deliberately sit on facts on OBC population in the midst of the ongoing quota row? Going by a report of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the answer is a definite "yes".  

The National Sample Survey Organisation report of 1999-2000 pegs the overall OBC population at 33.5 per cent, 37.52 per cent in rural areas, and 30.38 per cent in the urban segment. The Mandal Commission report had pegged the OBC population at 52 per cent.

Instead of taking judicious note of the NSSO report, a key department of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the Centre has followed the fallacious impression that the OBCs account for almost 52 per cent of the total population. The NSSO survey released in September 2001 put the population of non-OBC/SC/ST at around 55 per cent including minority communities too.

Among all States covered by the Ministry in the survey, <b>Tamil Nadu has the largest number of OBC population, accounting for 63.09 per cent of rural population and 68.13 per cent of the urban population.</b>

The report adds substance to West Bengal CPI-M unit secretary Biman Bose assertion that <b>the State's Left Front Government would not reserve 27 per cent quota for OBCs, as they account for only 6.45 per cent of the State's total population.</b>

"The percentage of SC/ST/OBC population in NSSO report is based on the survey of the castes as identified by the Government of India. Given the magnitude of the report, the figures must be close to the reality. Differences could be of a few per cents if caste-wise census is done. Otherwise, our findings are quite authentic," a Ministry official, requesting anonymity, said.

In all, NSSO surveyed as many as 6,046 villages covering 4,116 blocks across the country. In all, 71,385 rural and 48,924 urban households were surveyed to ascertain the citizens socio-economic status. In rural areas, 3,74,856 people were surveyed to know their social and economic status, while in the urban areas, 2,25,160 people were surveyed.

The statement titled "Percentage distribution of persons by social groups in rural and urban areas of major States" in the <b>NSS Report Number 472 gives an overview of the OBC population in 15 States. They are - Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal</b>.

Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the so-called cauldron of 'social justice' politics, have less than 50 per cent OBC population. In UP, OBCs account for only 37.2 per cent of the total population, while the figure is 49.09 per cent in Bihar. In Madhya Pradesh, OBC population is 41.50 per cent and 36.47 per cent in rural and urban population respectively. In Karnataka, OBCs account for 39.15 per cent of rural population. In urban population, their presence is 30.65 per cent.

After Tamil Nadu, Kerala is the only State where OBCs account for over 50 per cent of total population. They account for 51.08 per cent and 55.32 per cent of the rural and urban population respectively.

In Andhra, they account for around 42 per cent of the total population, and in Orissa around 27 per cent. In Rajasthan, OBCs account for 31 per cent of total population, and in Gujarat around 28 per cent.

<b>NSSO survey puts SC population at 17.38 per cent, a little higher than 16.23 per cent of Census 2001. According to the survey, STs account for around 7 per cent of the country's total population against 8 per cent plus as per Census 2001. "Going by the population of SC/ST as established by NSSO survey that is very close to the Census 2001 figure, the OBC population should not be more than 35 per cent under any circumstances,"</b> the official said.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Family Health Survey puts figure at 32 per cent </b>
Yoga Rangatia | New Delhi
Even as the Supreme Court takes a look at the basis of Government's quota contention, a Health Ministry household survey belies the Mandal Commission's claims that OBCs constitute over half of the total population.

<b>The 1998-99 National Family Health Survey said Other Backward Classes (OBCs) form about 32 per cent of the population</b>. The report was based on a national representative sample of more than 90,000 married women between 15 and 49 years old. International Institute for Population Sciences co-ordinated the study.

<b>Tamil Nadu tops in OBC population with almost three-fourth of the entire population in the State falling in this category</b>. Bihar follows with half the State population falling under the OBC category.

<b>Other States with substantial OBC population are Andhra Pradesh (43.5 per cent), Karnataka (40.3 per cent), Kerala (40.5 per cent) and Madhya Pradesh (39.8 per cent).</b>

<b>States where OBC form about one-fifth of the total population are Haryana (21.4 per cent), Rajasthan (23.2 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (26.2 per cent), Gujarat (23.6 per cent) and Maharashtra (22.6 per cent).</b>

<b>States with relatively low OBC population are Himachal Pradesh (17.3 per cent), Jammu and Kashmir (11.3 per cent), Punjab (16.8 per cent), West Bengal (4.5 per cent), Arunachal Pradesh (12.4 per cent), Assam (12.5 per cent), Manipur (4.5 per cent), Meghalaya (1.2 per cent), Mizoram (0.2 per cent), Nagaland (3.4 per cent) and Goa (6.4 per cent). </b>

The data helped public health experts understand access to healthcare by caste and religion. But also served as the indicator for caste-based population in States.

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