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The current poverty condition should replace the caste and tribe in Govt. quotas and benefits in education and jobs

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The current poverty condition should replace the caste and tribe in Govt. quotas and benefits in education and jobs Empty The current poverty condition should replace the caste and tribe in Govt. quotas and benefits in education and jobs

Post by Seva Lamberdar Fri Feb 25, 2022 8:36 am

In a recent news release "Reservation not at odds with merit, says Supreme Court as it upholds 27 percent  OBC quota in NEET" (Ref. 1), it  raises many questions on the validity and logic in overriding merit and competency with caste etc. in quotas, reservations and benefits in education and jobs.  

The allocation of Govt. benefits (quotas / reservations etc.) based on castes and tribes began decades ago (1950s), apparently due to (a) lack of understanding about poverty and backwardness and inability to define and quantify poverty level numerically as poverty limit / line, (b) mindlessly giving credence sometimes to spurious, fictional and isolated incidents of discrimination and deprivation in the ancient mythical tales  and texts, and (c) not realizing the importance of poverty limit / line in eradicating poverty and backwardness effectively.  

Therefore people with manual caste labels signifying ancient family occupations in manual categories (such as the long ago farmers, carpenters, blacksmiths, leather-workers, barbers, masons, potters, weavers, bricklayers, oil extractors and weavers etc.) were considered conveniently, albeit wrongly, poor and backward now while labeling them also as "backward" castes, specifically BC / OBC (backward castes / other backward castes) and SC (scheduled castes / "dalit"), in Govt. quotas, reservations and benefits in education and jobs.  By default, others in the non-manual castes (including brahmins / priests, rajputs / warriors and traders / merchants) automatically acquired the label "forward" castes, implying as not "backward" or not  BC / OBC etc.

"Backward" categorization as ST (scheduled tribe) was similarly introduced for people either living now in tribal settings, or claiming to have tribal beginnings in the past even though they now reside and work etc. as part of the mainstream society. The current mainstream societies all around the world incidentally had their roots / origins in ancient tribes which long ago included everyone as original inhabitant or "adi-vaasi" (आदिवासी), implying thus that today's mainstream societies include everyone with the tribal ("adi-vaasi") beginnings and ancestors long ago. Moreover, it was only through the efforts and struggles of original inhabitants (tribal ancestors), which over generations led to the transformation of ancient tribal settlements into current mainstream societies. It therefore makes little sense now in some people claiming as having tribal ("adi-vaasi") origins exclusively, as ST, for quotas, reservations and benefits in education and jobs.  

The educational benefits and rewards to people (boys and girls, young and adult) according to "backward" labels (BC / OBC, SC and ST), rather than merit or competency, might include:  (a) reservation of seats in educational institutions (sometimes as much as 50% quotas for BC / OBC, SC and ST) , (b) free tuition or lower tuition fees, (c) partial or total waiver on board examination fees, and (d)  educational stipends / scholarships . Similarly, the help in jobs to people (men and women) in "backward" category includes reservation of jobs during initial hiring and the job promotions later (while working) due to the consideration as BC / OBC, SC and ST, rather than merit / competency.

The present system of quotas, reservations and benefits in education and jobs according to caste and tribe (BC / OBC, SC and ST) is seriously flawed because, in addition to overlooking merit and competency, (a) it does not take into consideration the recipients’ current occupations, which results in people engaged now in non-manual jobs (including as clerks and managers in Govt. offices, school teachers, college professors, military officers and others) also qualify easily and automatically for benefits and quotas in education and jobs as BC / OBC etc., (b) it does not take into consideration the recipients’ current lifestyle etc., which results in people (as ST category) qualify easily and automatically for Govt. benefits (quotas etc. in education and jobs) even if they happen to be living and working in villages, towns and cities and as part of the mainstream society, and (c) it does not take into consideration the recipients’  economic condition, which results in people with categories BC / OBC, SC and ST qualify easily and automatically for Govt. benefits (quotas etc. in education and jobs) even if they now are rich and well-to-do, earning huge salaries as high Govt. officials and ministers etc. and living far above the poverty limit / line.  

Only in the past few decades there has been a lame / haphazard effort to suspend temporarily the unnecessary Govt. benefits (quotas / reservations etc. in education and jobs) in the case of well-to-do BC / OBC when their annual incomes exceed the hypothetical "creamy" layer (limit). But, as indicated in Comment in Ref. (2), this method (using very high "creamy" layer, in lakhs of rupees annually) to stop the misuse of caste based quotas and benefits in education and jobs is still allowing the benefits / quotas going to wrong and undeserving (very rich and high earning) BC / OBC people. The current "creamy" layer (limit) set at several lakhs of rupees is extremely high and also many times above the real national poverty level (in thousands of rupees only). Thus many rich and well-to-do people in BC / OBC category, while being far above the poverty level (limit / line) but still under the super high "creamy" layer, continue to receive benefits and quotas in education and jobs due to their "backward" status (BC / OBC).  

In addition, the suspension in benefits (quotas etc.) for BC / OBC according to "creamy" layer is temporary only and lasts as long as the person or family stays above "creamy" layer.  But as soon as the income level for high earning BC / OBC falls again below "creamy" layer, the educational and job quotas / benefits, suspended previously due to high income (above "creamy" layer), get restored immediately due to the caste connection as BC / OBC.  Needless to say, using the poverty limit / line (in thousands of rupees), instead of "creamy" layer (in lakhs of rupees), to stop the misuse and abuse of Govt. help (quotas and benefits in education and jobs) will be a sensible and effective solution.    

In any case, people belonging to non-manual castes and therefore in "forward" castes category (including brahmins, rajputs and merchants) are automatically, irrespective of their poor economic condition currently (living now near or below the poverty limit / line) and engaged presently in manual work / jobs (as laborers, farmers, mechanics and handymen etc.), left out of Govt. help  (quotas  and benefits in education and jobs).

There is also the unintended denigration (undermining of importance and prestige) of manual work / tasks because of ill-advised association of poverty and backwardness with ancient manual castes (labeled as BC / OBC etc.) for the sake of quotas and benefits in education and jobs. In addition, people designated superficially "backward" castes keep officially using their caste status (as BC / OBC and SC etc.) in applications etc. for benefits and quotas in education and jobs, which results in prolonging and promoting caste system and caste divisions in society while also giving boost to casteism and caste discrimination.  

There had been little effort and emphasis previously anyway on considering and using the current poverty (economic necessity) level (expressed specifically as poverty limit / line) before granting Govt. help (quotas and benefits) in education and jobs. For example, when I required for my blog (Ref. 2) the information on poverty limit / line in India in 2008, I was surprised to learn that not much was available officially in this regard. Whatever little I could find then on Indian poverty limit / line from news stories etc. seemed very unreliable and unreasonable, including the individual poverty limit / line (mentioned in a citation in Ref. 2) as Rs. 450  per month or Rs. 15 per day.  I therefore had to use in my blog (Ref. 2) the World Bank's recommendation on individual poverty limit / line (U.S. $1 per day) for developing countries, which, with 2008 exchange rate (US $1 = Rs. 50), came out as Rs. 50 per day (or Rs. 1500 per month) as the individual poverty limit / line in India in 2008.  

There is urgent need thus in India to correctly (numerically) define the real poverty level (limit / line) on individual basis and as family (4 members, including 2 adults and 2 children), so that the Govt. aid (including quotas and benefits in education and jobs) can be used properly and effectively by directing benefits etc. to people now living near or below the poverty limit / line.  That way only (by using the poverty limit /line) the real poverty and backwardness will end in the nation, and not by giving Govt. help (including quotas and benefits in education and jobs) mindlessly to people according to their superficial caste and tribe labels (BC / OBC, SC and ST).

To give an example on the differences in tuition etc. charged in school / college to students according to their caste status ("forward" caste and  "backward" caste), I was studying in 5th grade (class) at Govt. Middle School Bagli (H.P., then Punjab) in 1957. I was also the class moniter then, and in that capacity I sometimes would assist the class in-charge and teacher in collecting monthly tuition from my classmates, I noticed that there was a difference in tuition fees paid by students with "forward" caste status and "backward" caste status. Each student in my class from "forward" castes (including the castes brahmins, rajputs and merchants) would pay the monthly tuition and school fund totaling  2 rupees and 10 aanas (1 rupee = 16 aana) even if the family of "forward" caste student happened to be at that time as poor and making a living by doing manual labor and farming etc.

On the other hand, each student in my class then from "backward" castes (labeled as  BC / OBC etc., because of family's connection  with ancient manual occupations as farmer, carpenter, blacksmith, leather-worker, barber, mason, weaver, bricklayer, oil extractor, weaver and so on) would pay each month only 6 aanas in school fund (without having to pay the extra 2 rupees 4 aanas as monthly tuition) even if the "backward" caste student's family at that time was rich and engaged in a non-manual / office type occupation / job (business man, clerk, school teacher and manager etc.).

In another example, one of my cousins (my father's sister's eldest son) was to sit for Intermediate (grade 12) Education Board examination at Govt. College Dharamshala during mid-1950s. But before he could appear in the Board examination he had to submit the examination fee  totaling Rs. 170 (a large amount then), based on his "forward" caste status as belonging to "brahmin" caste. The examination fee required then  from grade 12 students in "backward" castes category (as BC / OBC etc.) was considerably less and only Rs. 40.  Anyway, my poor and widowed aunt had considerable difficulty in coming up with the required amount (Rs. 170) for her son's fee initially, but finally and just in time, after approaching several people for help and disposing of some personal items for cash, she managed to arrange for it and pay her son's examination fee. Suffice to say, the situation for my aunt and cousin would have been less difficult, hectic and precarious if the examination fee in his case was not Rs. 170 (based on his "forward" caste category as brahmin) but only Rs. 40 (the equivalent of fee paid by "backward" caste category students as BC / OBC).

In another instance, I was building a house at Ansoli (a village in H.P.) in 2005. Three of the laborers working for me then included two men and a woman from two separate rajput (warrior / princely class) families. Even though they were quite poor and working as laborers at a daily wage of Rs. 80 each (almost same as the poverty limit / line), due to their rajput caste they belonged to the "forward" caste category which automatically disqualified them and their children in Govt. help (including quotas and benefits in education and jobs).

In conclusion,  the time has finally arrived now to immediately get rid of flawed, unjust and discriminatory quotas, reservations and benefits in education and jobs according to caste and tribe (superficially grouped as BC / OBC, SC and ST) and consider instead only the poverty (economic necessity as living near or below the poverty limit / line) in giving Govt. help to people (including quotas, reservations and benefits in education and jobs).

References  

(1)   The Tribune, "Reservation not at odds with merit, says SC (the Supreme Court) as it upholds 27 pc OBC quota in NEET,"  Jan. 20, 2022,   https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/sc-upholds-27-pc-obc-reservation-in-neet-all-india-quota-362979      

(2)    Subhash C. Sharma, "Religion and caste in Govt.," (including Comment), Dec. 31, 2008, http://web.archive.org/web/20090809230813/http://geocities.com/lamberdar/nonsecularism.html


by: Dr. Subhash C. Sharma
(Feb. 25, 2022)
Seva Lamberdar
Seva Lamberdar

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https://docs.google.com/document/d/1bYp0igbxHcmg1G1J-qw0VUBSn7Fu

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The current poverty condition should replace the caste and tribe in Govt. quotas and benefits in education and jobs Empty Re: The current poverty condition should replace the caste and tribe in Govt. quotas and benefits in education and jobs

Post by Seva Lamberdar Sat Feb 26, 2022 12:29 pm

The addition of new group oriented quotas recently (including the economically backward / weak class or section EBC / EWS) and using the "creamy" layer for temporary suspension of benefits merely are window-dressing efforts by Govt and politicians to keep in place the old silly, discriminatory and unjust "backward" category (BC / OBC, SC and ST) quotas / reservations, while adding more groups (EBC / EWS etc.) to them.

To override merit and competency for any Govt. aid in education and job, the poverty at individual level or as family (measured in terms of poverty limit / line: the recipient of Govt. aid -- including the quotas / reservations in education and job -- benefiting only while living near or below the poverty limit / line) should be the only consideration, and nothing else (including the group categories BC / OBC, SC, ST and EBC / EWS).
Seva Lamberdar
Seva Lamberdar

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https://docs.google.com/document/d/1bYp0igbxHcmg1G1J-qw0VUBSn7Fu

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Post by Seva Lamberdar Sat Mar 05, 2022 6:51 am

Another link:   http://creative.sulekha.com/the-current-poverty-condition-should-replace-the-caste-and-tribe-in-govt-quotas-and-benefits-in-education-and-jobs_640913_blog
Seva Lamberdar
Seva Lamberdar

Posts : 6393
Join date : 2012-11-29

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