TAMIL NADU

Private sector quota

Sir, — While addressing MPs from the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes on the issue of extending reservation to the private sector, the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has said that reservation is a temporary arrangement and real empowerment must come from education (Dec. 20). Despite availing themselves of reservation for over 50 years, not many have voluntarily given up or have been excluded from reservation. And the benefits of reservation are cornered by only those who have already gained from it, at the cost of the deserving poor.

K. Duraiswami,

Tiruvallur, T.N.

* * *

Sir, — Even after 56 years of Independence, if reservation is "temporary", what is the time span of temporary? And for how many generations will it remain temporary? Whatever the political argument, the hidden fact is that this issue is meant for building vote banks.

V. Sitaramen,

Tiruchi, T.N.

* * *

Sir, — On reading Mr. Vajpayee's statement, I was reminded of an old joke. A household employee was lamenting that his job was never permanent as his employer had asked him to join 40 years earlier and had not confirmed his appointment — he was not sure when he would be fired. Surely, the first, second and third generation of the depressed classes should have come up by this time and integrated themselves in the social mainstream?

T.M. Sundararaman,

Chennai

* * *

Sir, — Mr. Vajpayee has opened a Pandora's box again. The politics of reservation is already playing havoc in our society. This issue has been raised at a time when existing reservation system itself requires a re-look. Caste cannot be the sole criterion for backwardness. The private sector is market driven and needs to achieve business results. Any attempt to impose unreasonable restrictions in the selection of personnel will act as a deterrent for new investments.

S. Sampathkumar,

Coimbatore, T.N.

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