Wednesday, May 24, 2006

An Open Letter to Hon'ble Human Resource Minister Shri Arjun Singh

I wish I could stand there with those doctors who are braving the batons, facing water canons, getting stomped and yet rising. But even if I am not there with them, I wish they could know that many others and I are with them, atleast ideologically.

As a matter of fact, reservation had never been an issue with me as long as there was a seat for me to fight for. But, this is reckless, firstly reservations were for a 10 years, then again 10 years and now the latest salvo. How long will you harp on the same tune.....?

Let me bring some facts that I presume have miss the benign information of our elected representatives, as per the 55th round of the NSSO Survey in 1999 – 2000, the sum total of percentage ST and SC graduates in Rural and Urban India was 2.3 % and 15.6 % respectively. This is almost ten years after the Mandal I was initiated.

Source: Meeting the Challenge of Mandal II, The Hindu Dated: 22 May 2006

If Mandal I was very effective then the condition of the downclassed should have improved as a result of the legislation, unfortunately the answer is negative, given NSSO findings on education. It would not be remiss to assert that the very premise on which the Reservation Theory was based is flawed.

Further, we widely recognize the spill over effects of an initiative, that in a very broad terms are the indirect benefits of the initiative undertaken, mainly measured in terms of access to education, change in lifestyle, in savings and in consumption patterns. Here also as per the NSSO findings the effects have been minimal, considering the ten-year period involved.

NSSO, which is a government-recognized body, puts the percentage of Indian OBC population as 32 %, as of now, quoting again NSSO, OBCs occupy 23.5 % of the university seats (
Read Here). The facts do not make much of case for reservation. In case the fresh wave of reservation spree is on the same lines as the previous then this seriously needs some rational thinking. Hindustan Times finds that nearly one third of the of the quota for the SC and ST is not utilized, consequently, the void remains.

The solution lies in things which are starkly different from the realities as being projected, the way out of the current socio-economic situation lies in market, free play and competition and the State assuming a regulatory role alongside ensuring the fulfillment of social objectives.

The solution lies in investment, it lies in development of Infrastructure, there still are 66822 villages in India that still do not have Village Public Telephone, of these 14183 are remote and far flung villages, (
Read Here )

It is no denying that Government initiatives augur well in intensions but somewhere down the line it is target that rules, target here is not beneficiary upliftment but the focus remains on beneficiary coverage.

Our country is vivid with examples of alternative strategies to tackle the actual development problems These may include N-logue that takes communication to the rural populace in an affordable manner as well as an alternative source of employment and information. (Read Here and Here). Information is the key to empowerment, what could be a better example than Drishtee. It provides employment oppurtunities, reverses rural migration, enhances e governance, access to education, health and insurance.

Performance Review after two years of UPA Government puts 66000 villages as not having road connectivity, During the year 1955 annual percapita Water Availability was 5277 cubic metres by 1990 this fell to 2464 cubic metres. Given the current demand projections the per capita availabilty is likely to drop below 1000 cubic mertres. Reservations will not help out here, but the solutions are Tarun Bharat Sangh
Here and Here, N M Sadguru Water and Development Foundation )

The solution lies in enhancement and promotion of Research and Development, it lies in forward thinking and preparing for the challenges that we have to face as we integrate ourselves with the global economy. Biotech, Nanotech, Multilateral Cooperation, Trade Promotion are the catchphrase. Nanotechnology is an upcoming field, it can have deleterious effects on our agriculture, and how can we prepare for that? (
How it can affect us)

Did we ever understand why an initiative like E-choupal resulted in an increase of around $ 2 per tonne for a farmer (Case Study by
Michigan Business School and Harvard ) whereas on the other hand, the Rural Employment Generation schemes like SGSY and SGRY (for which SC and ST are the focus beneficiaries) are satisfactorily judged on the basis on numbers of training provided and number of trainees covered? ..............No we did not understand.....

There are cases that have made a positive impact on the social and economic patterns of a village. (To name a few: HP Kuppam i Community, Project Employability - Lafarge India ), Mixing Ecology with Economics - Heubach India.

Do we ever realize why projects like HLL i-Shakti have been more successful than many development initiatives by the State that target women as the prime beneficiary? Perhaps the sooner we understand this, the better it will be for National Level Policy making.

  • None of the initiatives mentioned above have been based on caste computations, their principal objective is to provide avenues that expand the horizon of the people to explore a rewarding income alternative.
  • These alternatives reduce the dependence of the populace on traditional means of earning
  • These alternatives positively affect not only the people but also the economy of the region.
  • Lastly, these alternatives are based on mutually rewarding proposition for the people and the implementer.

Inclusive Growth has now become the buzzword in the policy documentation, but what better alternatives than these can be mentioned, of course there are many others too. These initiatives focus on poverty, social empowerment. Caste has never been the prerogative or is the least criterion when deciding upon the course of action.

I only tried to present the picture as it appears to me, I might be wrong somewhere I quote a fact, but I've tried to present with the latest, in case you are more updated, please do correct me.

No comments yet