Group That Opposed Quota in 2006 Now Backs 10% Reservation for EWS
Video Editor: Sandeep Suman
Thirteen years ago, Delhi-based orthopaedic surgeon, Kaushal Kant Mishra had participated in anti-reservation protests against 27 percent quota for the OBC (Other Backward Classes).
In 2006, UPA government’s decision of introducing 27 percent quota for the OBCs in addition to the already existing 22.5 percent reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes had resulted in nation-wide protests.
Mishra was among thousands of students and professionals who were opposed to caste-based reservation, and thus, ‘Youth for Equality’, a group that organised protests across the country against quota, was born.
Owing to apprehensions regarding shortage of seats in medical and engineering colleges, including decline in government jobs, the protesters demanded opportunity based on merit. A decade later, however, Mishra and few others associated with ‘Youth for Equality’ seemed to have changed their minds.
“If reservation is given to the needy, poor, chaiwalas, sweepers, coolies, taxi drivers, beggars, transgender people and orphans then we support such a move. This quota is being given to an individual and therefore can’t be called a vote bank. We don’t have a problem with it per se.”Kaushal Kant Mishra, Convener, Youth for Equality
Dr Mishra, on behalf of ‘Youth for Equality’, has challenged the 124th constitutional amendment in Supreme Court. Though he’s in favour of the new law, the petition has raised concerns regarding the 50 percent benchmark being breached and reservation in private, unaided institutions.
“There are two problems with the Amendment (Bill). First, it is exceeding the 50 percent limit. If the 50 percent quota limit is breached because of any political reason then we don’t know to what extent reservations will be extended. Another problem is that they are talking about bringing reservation in private and unaided institutions at the lower level, which we feel is not in national interest.”Kaushal Kant Mishra, Convener, Youth for Equality
Will reservation, on the basis of economic background, help in resolving the job crisis?The issue has haunted the NDA government since last few years with experts questioning the veracity of claims on job creation.
“For the first time, the Modi government has shown courage to go beyond caste and choose economic background as the criteria. The benefit of such a system of reservation is that it will be a dynamic criteria whose beneficiaries will keep on changing.”Kaushal Kant Mishra, Convener, Youth for Equality
According to Vinay Pathak, another volunteer of ‘Youth for Equality’ who had participated in anti-reservation stir between 2007 and 2008, there is ‘no better formula for now other than the economic background’.