Economic or Social? Saharanpur Youth Divided Over 10% Quota

Can reservation be provided to upper castes based of economic factors? Here’s what students in Saharanpur think.

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The BJP’s constitutional amendment providing 10 percent reservation to economically weaker sections within non-reserved categories may have sailed through both Houses of the Parliament, but what does young India think of it?

In search of the answer, The Quint spoke to a bunch of students in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, to sense the pulse of those who this move directly impacts.

Is 10% Reservation a Positive Step?

Reservation for the economically weak in non-reserved categories is a “good step for upper castes,” believes Shuvam Goyal. The college student feels that the move would benefit upper castes, who, so far, were not able to access government jobs and higher education.

“Earlier, due to the existing form of reservation, the poor from upper castes weren’t able to secure jobs or get admission into government colleges. Such individuals were not able to afford private education. Now, students (from upper castes) will be able to study in universities and won’t have to drop out. This will also help in getting government jobs.  
Shuvam Goyal, student

But Sagar Gautam, another college student, questions the need for providing reservation to the socially-privileged.

“When the ST, SC, and OBCs were given reservation in government jobs and in education, members of the upper caste called them ‘beggars’, who received employment as a favour. But now, the same upper castes are asking for reservation,” Gautam argues.


How Backward is Backward?

While Goyal argues that many within the upper castes are economically weak and have lost out on opportunities due to lack of reservation for the, fellow student Ankit Saini feels that reservation should be based on the either economic or numeric basis.

Questioning the need for reservation of economically stable SC, ST and OBCs, Saini asks whether the children of an IAS officer, an MLA hailing from reserved categories, etc. really need quotas.

“Does an individual from the Schedule Caste category who hails from an economically-stable family and becomes a DM, MLA or a minister really need reservation for their kids? Reservation should be based on economic grounds. Then reservation or representation should be based on a community’s numerical strength.”   
Ankit Saini, student

But members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes do not face discrimination on economic grounds alone, argues Pankaj, another student.

“We are discriminated against on social grounds as well. There's only one solution to this problem. All caste groupings in the country should be brought together under one mainstream category,” he adds.

But how bring about such unification?

“This can be done by making education free for all in private and government institutes. All institutes should be nationalised and all students must be given access to education. Whether belonging to upper castes or to reserved categories, if we progress together and get the same education, we won't need reservation at all,” he adds.

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