Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Reservations in Maharashtra,India and Maratha Kranti Morcha

India is probably the only country in the world to have "Caste-based" reservation which started in the British era before India gained Independence and still exists.


What has been the Impact of reservations in India? Has it been of any use?

One 2010 study of 16 of India’s biggest states did look at the effect on poverty in backward groups of their getting quotas of representatives, from 1960 to 2000. The report’s authors, Aimee Chin and Nishith Prakash, say theirs is the only study ever to ask how an affirmative -action policy, of any sort, has affected poverty in India. 

Their conclusion: for “scheduled tribes”, who are conveniently crowded near one another on electoral maps, greater political clout has indeed led to a small drop in poverty. 

But for the “scheduled castes”, by contrast, it has made absolutely no difference at all.



The various quotas have partly achieved their most basic tasks. In public jobs members of backward groups claim more posts than of old. Dalits had just 1.6% of the most senior (“Group A”) civil servant positions in 1965, for example. That rose to 11.5% by 2011, not far off the 16% or so of the general population that Dalits represent. The share is higher for more junior posts.


Judging a broader impact is harder. Very few Indians have formal jobs, let alone government ones. “The [jobs] policy only matters for perhaps 2% of the Indian work force”, points out Harsh Shrivastava of the World Development Forum, a think-tank in Delhi. 

Other than in tweaking quotas (to reflect the local size of a “scheduled” population) states have never experimented, nor competed, to find out whether their jobs policies have any wider, beneficial impact.


Worse, the policy has probably helped to make India’s bureaucracy increasingly rotten—and it was already one of the country’s greater burdens. An obsession with making the ranks of public servants representative, not capable, makes it too hard to sack dysfunctional or corrupt bureaucrats. In December 2012 parliament’s upper house passed a bill ordering that bureaucrats be promoted not on merit alone, but to lift the backward castes faster.


MARATHA KRANTI MARCH
Demands
1.      Punishment to culprits in Kopardi rape and murder case.
2.      Reservation in education and government jobs.
With this request, the vested interests of the political parties backing this protest has been exposed.
3.      Implement recommendations of National Commission on Farmers chaired by Prof. M. S. Swaminathan.
4.      Amendment in Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 to stop its misuse.
Other demands include loan waiver schemes for Maratha farmers.



Appreciation


The police are appreciating these silent marches for its discipline and cleanness. Millions of Maratha joined this movement silently. This is one of the World's Largest Peaceful Protest March. This protest brought together Maratha Community. Till date in various regions across Maharashtra, India almost 20 to 30 Million people have actively participated in this march at different location



Justice Sawant, former chairman

Justice Sawant stepped down from the post of chairman of a committee formed by the morcha. This had followed a representation circulated by the morcha's leaders to MLAs, MPs and other political heavyweights, claiming that the Justice Sawant committee had suggested a repeal of the Atrocities Act, as well as pressing for 16 per cent reservation for Marathas. Justice Sawant, who was at the forefront of designing a strategy to deal with the issues faced by the community, looks pained when any reference to the committee crops up. Saying that he had not even attended any of the committee's meetings, he asks how the morcha's leaders could have named him as the architect of this point of view. "The representation purported to suggest that [the demand to repeal the Atrocities Act and the 16 per cent reservation] was the decision of the committee. I, therefore, found myself in a quandary. These views-which were not mine-were being presented as mine, since I was 'chairman' of the committee. I felt that the situation would lead to untoward consequences, apart from the misrepresentation of my views. Therefore, I took the step of freeing myself from the responsibilities," he says.


Justice Sawant insists that the committee was formed without his knowledge, when active leaders of the morcha met in Aurangabad in September. "They included my name as chairman of the committee. I was not consulted. I understand some of the other members of the committee were also not consulted. I learnt about it through the press. However, in order to avoid misunderstandings and to honour the sentiments of the people, I did not protest against my inclusion."


According to him, the Atrocities Act needs only an amendment to Section 9, which gives police officers the authority to immediately arrest a person against whom an FIR has been filed under this act. A method of fixing this, he says, is to amend the act so that police officers are required to take permission from a local magistrate before making an arrest. He also believes that getting reservations for Marathas in educational institutes and government jobs will first require several legal formalities to be taken care of .

On November 27, Justice Sawant had held a rally in Pune, aimed at persuading the youth to look beyond the idea of reservations. "Even if [the Marathas] get their reservations, only a very, very small proportion of the community will benefit. The vast majority will remain deprived."


After continuous growing protest in each city and millions of peoples participation in each Maratha Kranti Morcha, on 13 October 2016 the Government of Maharashtra took decision and


Increased the upper limit of the Economically Backward Class (EBC) to Rupee 600,000 (Rupee 0.6 Million) and announced extension of monetary benefits under this category to students from all castes. 

The students from the EBC category studying in all professional courses will be eligible for the benefits such as fee reimbursement under the Rajshri Shahu Maharaj Scheme, which was named after the Maratha king Rajshri Shahu of Kolhapur who introduced reservation policy for the first time in his kingdom Kolhapur State.

Announced schemes for children of small land holding farmers under the Panjabrao Deshmukh Scheme. The children of farmers with small land holding (2.5 Hectare for non-irrigated and 2 Hectare for irrigated) will be given financial assistance to pay housing rents in different cities. The upper limit for metros will be Rs. 30,000 a year, while that for smaller cities, it will be Rs. 20,000 a year.


In June 2017, a 100% waiver scheme for farmers has been announced in Maharashtra.


Should Reservations really be part of our system?

Since,the existing reservations have not made any major impact as per the studies.


Although, we appreciate the non violent nature of the marches which may turn into a violent one (Chakka Jam) if the demands are not met and of course, that will only impact more innocents. It maybe the bureaucracy or some hidden agendas and conspiracy. It could be the grudges of Marathas for the Dalits or vice versa. Just for the benefit of doubt, could they be a reverse psychology to abolish reservations all together?


We wonder when will the caste system be eradicated and we treat each other as Individuals.

We would be happier if the marches were by Maharashtrians than just the Marathas.


The candle march held for Nirbhaya was not a caste based one. All Indians demanded Justice.


The Dalits of the village wanted to take part in the protest since they also felt the same which would probably have made the protest even stronger but they were denied.



So, are these marches really aiming at justice for the rape victim? or is this another attempt of "Divide and Rule" or  in Little Finger's words, "Chaos is a ladder."

Keep Thinking!



References:

1.        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reservation_in_India
2.        http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/maratha-agitation-maharashtra-kranti-morcha/1/855493.html
3.        http://www.deccanchronicle.com/business/economy/250617/maharashtra-unveils-rs-34000-cr-loan-waiver-89-lakh-farmers-to-benefit.html
4.         https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maratha_Kranti_Morcha
5.        https://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2013/06/affirmative-action
6.        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/india-rape-murder-teenager-silent-protests-maharasthra-demonstration-inequality-a7346771.html
7.        http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-37538115
8.        http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/three-theories-behind-the-maratha-silent-protests/story-Mr8piR7gypI7AWAH4lgHgO.html
9.        http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/04/16/nana-patekar-farmers-suicide_n_9698856.html

10.     http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/maharashtra-government-raises-ebc-limit-to-rs-6-lakh-with-a-rider/articleshow/54840497.cms

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