Reservation in promotion for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes is yet another opportunity for the Indian society to become progressive. All right-thinking persons should encourage the proposed amendment to the Constitution (“Tread carefully,” Aug. 28). In a commercial, market-oriented economy, the ‘upper’ castes can survive, thanks to their surnames which serve as a capital for them to succeed in any business unlike Dalits who cannot sell their goods once their caste identity is revealed. Although the SCs and the STs are meat-eaters, how many of them have entered the business of hides, tanneries or even beef biryani eateries? They cannot even become butchers because the meat has to be consumed by people of all castes and religions.
Reservation in jobs brought a sea change in the status of the SCs and the STs. Reservation in promotion will further enhance their overall standing and skills.
Promotion is a reward for efficiency. If some employees are assured of promotions by virtue of their caste, the government will lose the moral authority to demand efficiency from employees belonging to the unreserved categories.
It is true that there is a glaring inadequacy in the representation of the SCs and the STs in higher echelons of bureaucracy. The government should engage appropriate tools to evaluate the social sufficiency of the employees belonging to the SC/ST community that will stand legal scrutiny before taking any decision to effect reservation in promotion.
Once a person enters government service, he ceases to carry his caste identity. Reservation in promotions will divide employees on caste basis, giving rise to animosity between groups.
Reservation was meant to be a medicine to cure the sick and enable the SCs and the STs to stand on their feet. Quotas for them in admissions to educational institutions and government employment are, therefore, justified. But reservation in promotion is unacceptable.
The objective of reservation, no doubt, is to provide the SCs and the STs a fair chance of acquiring education and a decent way of living. But once they enter government service through quota and work in cosmopolitan and big cities, they are on a par with others economically and socially.