The UPA government’s proposal to introduce a bill providing reservation for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in promotions in government jobs (Aug. 10) is ill-conceived. If enacted, it will give rise to social tensions that are best avoided. More so when the Supreme Court has upheld the High Court verdict striking down such reservation. The government should, instead, take steps to empower the SCs and the STs to stand on their own legs and compete with their colleagues.
Reservation for the SCs and the STs, if extended to promotions as well, will demoralise the general category employees. They will not be interested in giving their best. Employees of the SC and ST categories will also not give their best because their promotion will be assured.
Reservation was meant to be a one-time affair. But even after 65 years of independence, there is clamour for not only perpetuating it but also enhancing it and widening its scope. More and more castes want to be identified as the SCs/STs to benefit at the expense of others. After enjoying the benefits of reservation for over six decades, should the so-called oppressed castes not try to give up the props? It is time to consider allowing reservation based on caste to taper off. Quota for the economically backward, irrespective of caste and religion, should replace the existing system.