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Social and political Values and Systems in India.

Government Services and Upper age limit at its entry level

         “When democracy becomes corrupt, the best gravitates to the bottom, the worst to the top.”

Henery George

There was a news in “Times of India” on page 1, dated  27. 10.09 that “Why do Other Backward Castes get seven chances, SC (Supreme Court) asks UPSC (Union Public Service Commission)”. The time has come when the question needs to be answered honestly why? Not only in regard to OBCs, but also SCs and STs. A general candidate gets only four chances.

The reasons for age-relaxation and other concessions in 1947 ,-(Situation at the time of Independence) – When India got independence in 1947, exploitative rule previous rulers had already drained much of India’s wealth.

Condition Before Independence – Earlier Turks, Afghans and Mughals continuously invaded India and drained out the wealth of the nation to foreign lands. Afterward, when they made India their homeland, due to their intolerance towards Hindu subjects and imposition of Zeziya on Hindus, there was continuous pressure on the masses.

Later on, the new land revenue system had led to the rise of a new class of landlords, who wholeheartedly supported the British rule. Policy of Permanent Settlement led to the growth of absentee landlords living in luxury in towns and fleecing the tenants at will. The British policy of land revenue extracted as exorbitant amounts as possible from the peasants, which compelled the cultivators to live at the mercy of landlords, for the fear of eviction.

The poor farmers were caught into the clutches of moneylenders. The impoverishment of cultivators grew due to rack-renting, high rates of interest and uneconomic cultivation, resulting in large-scale alienation of land. Marginal farmers became landless laborers. The vast majority of people belonging to peasants, artisans sunk in poverty and misery. The exploitative policies of British overcrowded the agricultural sector.

British rulers discouraged local genius, cottage industries and fine arts. It made many traditional occupations obsolete. Their apathy towards indigenous skills, knowledge and occupations pushed millions backward in a very subtle manner. Many groups of rural artisans, craftsman and traditional occupations abandoned their traditional work. They either migrated to cities as industrial labor or became agriculture labor.  Inequality between various sections of society increased. The most vulnerable position was of lower strata of society; tribal and the women at the time of independence.

Condition at the time of Independence – When India got independence in 1947, the exploitative British rule had already drained much of India’s wealth, left it divided and bleeding from the partition of the country, which made millions of Indians impoverished and homeless. Majority of Indian people living in rural, urban and tribal areas were living in abject poverty. There existed a noticeable inequality between various sections of society. The most vulnerable position was of lower strata of society; tribal and the women at the time of independence. Millions of people in rural, urban and tribal areas were living in abject poverty.

The sight of their plight, life-styles and agonies were enough to make one’s hair stand on end. For them, even one full meal was a rare luxury. They were under-fed, under-read and under-clothed. They lacked gainful employment and were unable even to fulfil their basic needs of their day to day life. They were not leading a life of human-beings having dignity and self-respect.

Immediately after independence – Immediately after independence, it was felt that underprivileged class badly needed governmental interference to enable them to live with dignity and self-respect and get out of the condition of abject poverty and slave like position, in which they were living so far. Therefore, National leaders favoured not only to continue the practice of reservations along with other some facilities/concessions in government jobs of provinces, to the weaker sections of society, but extended it to the jobs in Government of India’s jobs as well in order to –

  • To remove age-old inequalities (either inherited or artificially created), social and religious disabilities of the deprived people, on account of their social segregation and cultural isolation.
  • To facilitate and promote equal participation of all in the nation building activities.
  • To protect underclass from all forms of social injustice and exploitation.[ii]

Accordingly quotas were fixed in government services through reservation policy. Reservations are regarded as the highest form of special provisions, while preferences, relaxation, concessions and exemptions are the lesser forms. [i] It widened the opportunities for under-represented social groups to get entry into government services and attain positions of power in the governance of the country on equal terms with the advantaged and advanced groups.

Hope belied – The constitution-framers hoped that within 10-20 years, provision of extra facilities would facilitate upward mobility of the submerged sections of the society. They would be empowered enough to join the mainstream of the nation and could directly participate without any crutches in nation-building activities. It would democratize Indian political, social and economic system. The administration would be more sensitive and responsive to the needs of the disadvantaged sections. However, Such measures did not yield desired results. More than 70 years have passed, but none of these expectations could be materialized till now.

Late-entry into educational institutions – Initially, for submerged sections of society, it was a big problem to seek admissions their wards in educational institutions at the same age as usually the youngsters of well-settled families did. There were many reasons for it like abysmal living conditions, shortage of schools/colleges near their homes, earning money more important for them rather than spending their time in schools/colleges etc.  They also took more time to get a graduate degree than general category candidates because of the family background and lack of proper atmosphere. They  found it difficult to compete with general candidates of the same age-group at the same standards; that too in three or four attempts as were given to general category candidates. Therefore, with age relaxation, they were allowed to SC/ST allowed to take as many attempts, to appear in the competitive examination, as they could avail. No restriction on numbers.

Purpose to give concessions – It is said that “Prescription works, when diagnosis is correct.” Initially, the effort to save the downtrodden from inferiority complex and self-pity, to bring them into the mainstream and to remove the age-old inequalities, every thing altogether, compelled the government to give a little push to submerged sections of society. To empower the marginalized sections of society, the authorities of that time gave special concessions/privileges to compete with the stronger, inspire them and make their entry easier and possible into the echelons of power.

Caste-Hindus had accepted it gracefully at that time. They also found it unfair to deny a large number of people a fair share in the echelons of power and in shaping the destiny of the nation.  For the all-round progress of India and for keeping it united, it was thought necessary to tap and utilize the vast reservoir of human resource. India was having, but could not do so far because of unavoidable circumstances.

Who are underprivileged before and after Independence?

Before Independence, Government refrained from calling any group as backward – Till the Communal Award of 1932, the British Government at national level consistently refrained itself to giving backward status officially to any section of Indian Society. It thought it unfair to stigmatize any group by official acknowledgement of their low status. Indian Statutory Commission, 1930 VI, (p 341) said clearly considered it unfair, that Owing to social disabilities, to which members of the depressed classes are exposed, it would be in the highest degree undesirable that any official authorization might appear to extend to such qualification. The fluidity of social distinctions and the efforts of the classes, lowest in the scale, aided by social reformers, to improve their status, make it more desirable, that Government should abstain from doing anything, which would tend to give rigidity to these distinctions.

Criteria to decide Backwardness – However some sections of society had pressurized the government so much that  on July 1934, the government issued an order instructing to schedule a list of people entitled for preferential treatment in matter of education, appointment in Government and special electoral representation. It was difficult to decide whom and by what standard must the people be included in the list of backwards.

Problems in deciding – There was not much problem to decide about who were the untouchables in the South and Central Provinces. But northern and eastern states posed the problem to select groups, which ought to be treated at par with the untouchables of Southern and Western part of India. In Madras, Bombay and Central Provinces, untouchables formed a distinct and separate element of population. All non-Brahmins were included in the list. But in other provinces, especially in the north, untouchability was linked with unclean occupation. Untouchables were very much an integral part of the Hindu order.

According to Census 1931 – Hutton, the Census Commissioner had laid down the following tests to separate untouchables from backward i: –

  • Whether the caste or class is served by Brahmins
  • Whether it was served by barbers, water carriers, tailors etc. who served caste Hindus,
  • Whether it polluted a high caste Hindu by contact or proximity,
  • Whether it was the one from whose hands a caste Hindu cannot take water,
  • Whether it was debarred from using public conveyances,
  • Whether it was debarred from entering into Temples,
  • Even well educated persons of which caste were not treated on equal terms with caste-Hindu in any social intercourse,
  • Whether it was merely depressed on account of its own ignorance, illiteracy or poverty and but for that would be subject to no social disability, and
  • Whether it was depressed on account of the occupation followed and whether but for that occupation, it would be subject to no social disability. (Census of India, 1931 Vol.1, App1, p 472).

Finally, Simon Commission in 1935 first coined the term ‘Scheduled Castes’. The untouchable castes from each British province was scheduled. This was on the basis of 1931 census of then India. This list was then published by Government in 1936 as ‘The Government of India (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1936’.

After Independence, weaker sections of Indian society –  After Independence,  Government of India recognized the following sections of society as weaker sections of Indian society –

  • Scheduled castes,
  • Scheduled tribes,
  • Minorities,
  • Other Backward castes
  • Women

Scheduled Castes – The first list of Government of India was published after India became republic. The schedule of oppressed castes became Scheduled Castes.  Census of 1951 showed that the percentage of castes listed in the Schedule were 15.05% of the total population of India. The Government of India reserved 12.5% seats for SC (already enforce) of the total available vacancies in any one year on caste basis. The percentage of their Reservation was raised to 15% on 25.3.70.

Scheduled tribes – The schedule of Tribes became Schedule Tribe in 1958. “Blessed with nature, celebrated by anthropologists and exploited by modern society, this has been the story of tribal. Partly by habitat and geographical isolation and partly on the basis of their distinctive tribal characteristics, they have remained socially isolated and far away from the mainstream. The failure of government to address the needs of the people living in poverty stricken regions or to build public infrastructure and utilities, especially in education and health-care, has given rise to many rebellion outfits in tribal areas, which have capitalized on these factors to build their zone of influence.

The total population of ST’s was of ST 6.31% according to 1951 census.  Government of India reserved 5% seats for ST of the total available vacancies in government jobs in any one year. The percentage of their Reservation was raised 7.50% respectively on 25.3.70.

Concessions Given to SCT – In order to increase the number of SC/ST in government services, in addition to Reservation of posts, many other benefits have been given to them in direct recruitment. These are: –

  • Age relaxation. The maximum age of direct recruitment for SC/ST increased by 5 years.
  • SC/ST allowed taking as many attempts, to appear in the competitive examination, as they could avail.
  • SCT candidates qualifying by general standard not to be adjusted against quota.
  • SC/ST candidates exempted from payment of examination fees.
  • Separate interviews for SC/ST.
  • Pre-entry coaching classes organized by the Government for them.
  • Relaxation in standard to further improve their representation in the service.
  • If, in any particular year, the number of suitable candidates available is less then the number of reserved posts, the posts, so in excess, are to be treated as unreserved for that particular year. However, in the next year, the number of posts unreserved would be added to the reserved posts of that year. This carrying over process is to operate for a period of two years, at a time.
  • Reservation in Promotions,

Over the years after the independence, many persons, belonging to a few  advanced castes listed in beneficiary’s list of Scheduled castes took advantage of the concessions and schemes envisaged by the government, for the advancement of downtrodden, including fixing up percentage of quota for them in government jobs. They have now come up socially, formed a creamy layer and are directly participating in nation-building activities along with others. They have already joined the mainstream of the nation.

Now all the benefit is being taken away by the creamy layer of the castes listed in beneficiary’s list.They now exercise immense power and influence in politics of the nation.  All the governments, political leaders and political parties, are bound to listen the voice and accept their demands. Reason being that these schemes have benefitted only a few individuals, not all people belonging to the listed SC castes. Most of them people are still in a very shape. Their condition is still very depressing because of their poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, lack awareness, understanding, and vision. They are still unable to take the benefit from the plans and policies envisaged for their better future.

The powerful lobby of these beneficiary/privileged castes does not like economic criteria for giving concessions to all the poor people. They just do not wish to give up their caste-identity as SC/ST/OBC, as even now, it entitles them to avail many special concessions from the government in different areas.

Other Backward Castes – For identifying socially and educationally backward classes, the commission adopted the following criteria:

  • Low social position in the traditional caste hierarchy of Hindu society.
  • Lack of general educational advancement among the major section of a caste or community.
  • Inadequate or no representation in government services.
  • Inadequate representation in the field of trade, commerce and industry

OBCs form the majority. It comprises mostly rural people, who depend mainly on agriculture for their survival. Till 1992, it was left to provincial governments to look into the interests of OBCs. At national level, the first Backward Commission, under Kaka Kalelkar’s Chairmanship, was appointed in Jan 1953 by the Government of India, to identify OBCs and recommend measures for their advancement. It submitted its Report in March 1955. It had identified 2399 communities as backwards comprising about 32% of the total population. In designating OBCs, the government had to depend on the existing lists of the state based on castes and communities as units and the list of Ministry of Education.

OBC’s According to First Backward Class Commission – According to First Backward Class Commission, the castes and communities, which were included in OBC list, were-

  • Communities, which suffered from the stigma of Untouchability.
  • Tribes living far away from the general social order.
  • Groups indulging in crime due to long neglect.
  • Nomads not having social respect.
  • Agricultural and landless laborers.
  • Tenants without occupancy right or with insecure land tenure.
  • Small landowners with uneconomic holdings.
  • Castes engaged in cattle breeding, sheep breeding or fishing or small scale.
  • Artisan and occupational classes without security of employment and sufficient remuneration.
  • Castes not having adequate representation in Government due to lack of education.
  • Socially and educationally backward Muslims, Christians and Sikhs social groupings, occupying low position in social hierarchy.

Second Backward class Commission – In 1977, under Art. 340 of the Constitution, Second Backward Class Commission was appointed under the chairmanship of Mr. Mandal. Its report has completely overlooked Kaka Kalelkar’s remark made in 1955 that “The services are not meant for the servants…. But for the service of the society as a whole” and raised the idea of ‘empowerment’ as the aim of reservation and concessions to backward classes.

Mr. VP Singh on reservation for OBC – Mr. VP Singh, then the Prime minister, asserted, The question of poverty is not financial… The issue does not relate to the treasury, but to the throne and whosoever occupies the throne will also control the treasury. Occupying throne meant to him Bureaucracy, which is an important organ of power structure and it has a decisive role in decision making exercise. We want to effectively give to the depressed, downtrodden and backward their share in power structure and in decision making to run this country and improve things.”( Times of India, dt. September 2, 1990.)

Start of Reservations for OBC – The Central Government issued orders for 27% Reservation for OBC on 13.8.90. This was challenged in the court of law. The judgement was delivered on 16.11.92. Based on the Judgement, revised orders were issued on 8.9.93. Reservation for OBC started at national level from 1994.

Concessions given to OBC – The concessions to OBC’s are less than SC/ST in following respect: –

  • They get relaxation in upper age limit up to 3 years only,
  • Number of attempts available to them, within the relaxed age limit for appearing in competitive examination, are lesser than that of SC/ST.
  • Relaxation in standard of suitability has been prescribed to further improve the representation of OBCs

Women – Women, comprising of 50% of the total population of India represent a vast reservoir of human resource, which still remains untapped and un-utilized. Authorities have paid only lip service to women issues so far.

Discrimination against women – Women have suffered shocking inequalities for centuries and continue to be discriminated against. Most heinous crimes are still done against women irrespective of caste, creed, time or place such as infanticide, feticide, physical abuse, early marriage, illiteracy, unequal rights in marriage, divorce, inheritance, polygamy, inauspicious widowhood with severe disabilities and restrictions, restrictions on widow remarriage or Sati etc.etc. The list is endless. Till very recent past, most on them were illiterate, ignorant and confined them within the four walls of the house for centuries.

Till 1965, married women debarred – On 17th July 1948, the Government of India announced that woman, too, were eligible for any public service including IAS and IFS (Hindustan Times, Milestone, P8, August 15, 1997). As late as 1965, married women were debarred from appearing in the competitive examination or joining IAS. If they got married after the selection, their retention depended on the performance of their work. (All India Service (Recruitment) Rules 1954, introduced vide MHA Notification NO.13/7/56 (AIS) (III dt. 25.4.1957).

Government Services meant for servicing the people – There is a proverb that “It is better to be Socrates dissatisfied than an ignorant satisfied.” Government Services are meant for servicing the people and to run the administration of a country smoothly. A band of ‘permanent, paid and professional/capable government employees in different disciplines of bureaucracy/civil services, well trained, efficient, prompt, just and sympathetic, are required to serve the people in a better way.

Government servants not only dig expert knowledge from the raw material, but give it a shape with a sense of commitment. Due to its exclusive and specialist nature of work, need for more expert knowledge in governance, to improve the delivery system as well as to make quality of life of common-men better, the importance of appointing well-qualified persons at each level of administration increases day-by-day.

Shri C. Rajagopalachari, “For any administration to be good and efficient, as a whole, we want right type of men. The quality of men placed in position is more important than laying-down of rules and methods of operation”

Recruitment in Civil services – For a government responsible for running the administration of the country, it becomes a matter of crucial importance to constantly review and make improvements into the systems, procedures and methods of recruitment to the various government services. A good recruitment system would make it possible for the government to nurture and utilize the best talents in the country for the service the nation and its people.

Age limit At present there is no rationale in enhancing the upper age limit of entering into higher civil services in Government services. So far, the step of relaxing the upper age limit, has neither brought down the numbers of unemployed youth, nor given enough opportunities to submerged sections of society to join the mainstream of society. At present is the age limit for entering into government services are continuously change and raised 40-42 years in certain provinces. It is as following for UPSC exams. –

Issue Upper Age Limits for entering into government jobs – The age -limit for entering into government services keeps on changing from time to time. At present, different government jobs at centre and states have different age limits (maximum) ranging from 24 to 42.

Since beginning the age limit for entering into government services was usually from 21 to 24 years. At present it has been raised upto 32 years +

  • Candidates belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe – up-to a maximum of five years.
  • Candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes –  up-to a maximum of three years.
  • Individual cases of persons belonging to Ex-servicemen, persons domiciled in the State of J & K, blind, deaf-mute and orthopedically handicapped etc.
General 32 Years
OBC 35 Years
SC/ST 37 Years
PWD 42 Years
J & K Domicile GEN=37 Year, OBC= 40 Year, SC/ST=40 Year, PH=50 Year
Disabled servicemen. GEN=37 Year, OBC=40 Year, SC/ST=40 Year.

Concession on Attempts at examination – The general category candidates, appearing at the Civil Services Examination, are permitted only four attempts at the examination (for both Prelim and Mains). An attempt at a Civil Services Preliminary Examination is deemed to be an attempt at the Examination. If a candidate actually appears in any one paper in the Civil Services Preliminary Examination, he / she are deemed to have made an attempt at the Examination. Notwithstanding the disqualification / cancellation of candidature, the fact of appearance of the candidate at the examination is counted as an attempt.

But there is no restriction on the number of attempts for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates. They can appear every year in examination till they attain the age of 35. The number of attempts permissible to candidates belonging to Other Backward Class is seven. A physically handicapped gets as many attempts as are available to other non-physically handicapped candidates of his or her community, subject to the General Category shall be eligible for seven attempts. The Civil Services relaxation will be available to the physically handicapped candidates who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates.

Joba in government services are still the most sought-after one. Every year, over 3-4 lack candidates apply for preliminary tests every year. Its entrance examination is one of the toughest globally. The prolonged examination system has always been more of a rejection than a selection process. With about 50 % reserved quota for SC, ST and OBC, it has become very difficult for general category candidates, even the talented ones, to enter into Higher Civil Services in Government of India. Now talented youth of non-quota category prefer to join either private sector or go abroad in search of a job, where there is still some recognition and appreciation for their talents.

Age relaxation unable in bringing desired results – As far as for reserved category, experience of yester years has shown again and again that age-relaxation and other concessions given to so-called ‘SC’,’ST’ or ‘OBC’ have not yielded the desired results. It has not benefited the the people for whom it was meant. Concessions need to be given only to deserving candidates on rational grounds at right time, in right quantity and quality. The way, these concessions have been bestowed to different sections so far, has given rise to many social, political and economic issues.

It has generated resentment in the hearts of general category candidates for not giving recognition to talent and merit. It has rather led the talents of the nation not to join government services, but to choose other avenues like migrate to advanced nation or join private sector.

There is also a deep resentment  in the hearts of reserved category candidates about promotions/career progression of reserved category candidates at higher levels of the services or for theirs very bleak chances of reaching upto the top. It has dividing the society into many uncompromising groups.

Lack of political will – Continuance of quota- system with relaxation in upper age-limit and other concessions to SC/ST/OBC has given birth to anger in the hearts of general category youth against the authorities, who still favor such discriminatory practices it without any rhyme or reason, not because downtrodden are benefitting or would benefit from them, but because it only serves the vested interests of a few.

Vote bank politics has led Political leaders to treat the ailment of backwardness, born out of illiteracy, ignorance and social oppression through discriminatory policies and practices. They want to entrust power in weak hands without making them strong enough to fulfil their responsibilities judiciously.

Not benefited the people for whom it was meant – It could not benefit the deprived masses much, for whom it was meant.  It has also failed to bring most of them into the mainstream or to improve their status. Still about 48% of Indian population is living below or at poverty line. Poverty and its associated ills like illiteracy, ignorance, sloth; ill-health etc. has adversely affected the lives of millions of Indian people and deprive them from joining the corridors of power. It has always been a big challenge before the government to channelize creatively the energies of the Youth of submerged sections of society.

Addition in the problems of downtrodden – 

Why so many attempts to quota people? – Time and again people do ask why even today age relaxation and seven to nine-ten attempts are being given to the candidates belonging to OBC or SC/ST categories in Competitive Examination conducted by UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) for entering into higher civil (government) services in India. Leave aside the public, even institution like Supreme Court has also asked the government “Why do Other Backward Castes get seven chances, when a general candidate gets only four chances – SC (Supreme Court) asks UPSC (Union Public Service Commission)”, Times of India” on page 1, dated, 27.10.09.

There seems no rationale to give the benefit of age relaxation to SC/ST/OBC now, especially when the age limit has already been extended from 24 years to 30 years for all. Instead of helping these submerged sections of society, it has increased their problems. In fact, age relaxation for SCs, STs and OBCs has generated many social and administrative problems, such as: –

Family burdenAspirant candidates belonging to backward sections of society keep on trying for government jobs, till they attain the age of 40-42. A very few lucky SCT aspirants for various government jobs are able to manage some financial aid from the government or any other institution/sources to meet their expenses for higher education, tuition fee, hostel expenses, getting admission in pre-entrance training centres plus a bit of pocket money.

For the rest, their poor parents meet the entire cost for higher education and other expenses up-till they attain the age of 40-42, while taking all the attempts for success. Not only the expenditure of their own studies falls on the already weak shoulders of their poor, deprived and disadvantaged old parents, but they have to bear full responsibility of raising-up the entire families of young aspirants and taking care of all their basic needs. It is because system of early marriage is prevalent amongst backward communities.. By the time, candidates of reserved category attain the age of 42, their own family with their children is already prepared.

Overcrowding in institutions of higher education – Requirement of graduate degree and to pass time, while preparing for the competitions, most of the youth join Universities and Colleges aimlessly. It has its own adverse affects. It results in over-crowding the Institutions of higher education. There is too much pressure for admissions in the colleges and universities. The academic standards are continuously on decline. Numerous fake institutions are created. It also leads to unbalanced growth in the number of educational institutions, unrest and indiscipline amongst the students and politicization of the temples of learning.

Difficult to train -Late entry into the Service makes the task of training very difficult. When the minds of youth are still at formative stage, entry into a service/profession makes the task to train easy. With the advancement of age, attitude, habits and skills of a fully grown up person hardens and adaptability diminishes. It becomes difficult to unlearn unwanted learning or to change the habits and behaviors in accordance with the future role.

 Waste of Human resourceAge relaxation has also led to the waste of Human resource as well. Every year lacs of youths chase a very limited jobs in government. Amongst them only a minuscule number succeed. The future of a vast majority of youth belonging to submerged sections gets jeopardized. In the hope of getting government jobs year after year, they waste most energetic, impressionable, imaginative and creative prime time of their youth. It appears to be a colossal waste of human resource. The energies of the younger generation could be gainfully utilized through proper career planning. The present system has become a vast machine producing educated unemployment/underemployment/unemployment.

Frustration of youth The failure generates frustration in the minds of youth. At the age of 40-42, after consuming all the attempts, a vast majority of unsuccessful SCT candidates just do not know how to find out new avenues for their future course of action. By that time, it becomes too late for them to find out a job elsewhere or to make a fresh start. It is difficult also for to get an opening elsewhere, for the simple reason that others – general candidates, who are non-beneficiaries of age relaxation advantage – have already occupied the space in other Government posts or in public sector or private sector, five years ago. It makes SCT youth more depressed and helpless.

Frustration of never finding a suitable job, abysmal living conditions and deterioration all round usually result in frustration, which is turn, generates inferiority complex and self-pity, considering themselves incapable of competing by general standards with others. Sometimes their frustration generates anger against others, leading them to violence and agitation. Instead of coming to terms with the situation, they develop an attitude to blame others for their lost opportunities and miseries.

Their anger easily finds illusionary base against an “Imaginary-enemy”, sometimes region-wise, sometimes community-wise and sometimes caste-wise or language-wise. Their anger forces many of them to join aggressive political groups to channel their anger and inchoate feelings.

Time has come, when the government needs to review its policy regarding these concessions and whether such relaxation/concessions have really empowered or improved the overall position of submerged sections of society? Is not the Article 16(4) of the constitution being misused for vote-bank politics and vested interests of politicians, political parties and powerful lobbies/creamy layer of SCs, STs or OBCs groups? Are quota people still justified in asserting their claim for age relaxation, lowering of standards and other concessions for getting easy access in the higher government services and move up into the ladder of their career without hindrance and much effort? Time has come when the answer to these questions should be found out.

Recruitments on administrative posts in Government? – For efficient, effective and good governance of a nation, the basic requirement is to place ‘right persons at right place on right time’.

Catch them young – During British rule and after Independence, any graduate from recognized university can appear in the competitive examination for entering into higher civil services of India. The upper age limit for general category people was 21 to 24 years.

It was believed that the government organizations looked for recruiting personnel at entry level, who were young, and energetic. At middle level and senior level, they appointed well-trained and experienced persons. Government institutions didn’t prefer to appoint persons above 35. It is felt that average age for mid-management should be around 27-30 and for senior management from 30 to 40 years.

Why Young? – The trend for catching people at young age was because it is the most creative, energetic and impressionable years of life. Young people possess fresh knowledge, open to new ideas, bring in radical thoughts, positive and flexible in attitude/approach. They are hard-working, innovative  and prepared to take risks, and capable to face challenges . They are tech-savvy and appreciate soft skills, which is the requirement of present day.

‘Catch them young for various jobs and train them for accordingly’ – For recruitment at entry level in government services, the principle should be ‘Catch them young for various jobs and train them for accordingly’, Young people may not be fully matured, may need guidance and may need to be disciplined.

Deficiencies in educational system – The deteriorating standard of education is incapable to equip much needed dynamism, knowledge and skills to perform their jobs in responsible manner, when they enter into a professional life. The present scheme of education and training has failed in introducing dynamic and responsible people in the governance of the nation. The quality of education is such, that it hardly makes majority of students either intellectually competent or motivated to do constructive work in responsible manner.

Overcrowding in institutions of higher learning – The requirement of a degree for getting white collard jobs has resulted in over crowding the institutions of education and training. The stress on quantitative increase has subverted all the attempts to improve the quality of teaching and learning. It has led to continuous fall in the standard of higher education. The examination and evaluation system tests only a narrow range of skills, especially those of memory and suffers from grave errors, so much and so, that people question the legitimacy of a modern education system itself.

A well-planned system of training is needed to make up for these inadequacies. Many people insist to follow the dictum of “Catch them young and train them well” in their respective areas of work accordingly. At higher level of management in their various disciplines, Government  may appoint well trained experts from other government, private or public institutions and prepare a team of dynamic, responsible and visionary persons having adequate knowledge , Who can guide and monitor the activities of junior/field officers properly.

Recruitment at young age and training system in army – Today, when other democratic institutions have lost public faith, the Defense Services are still keeping up some standard. The candidates passing out from National Defense Academy commands a high esteem in public’s eye, when they start their career as army officers. They have proved that they form the best disciplined cadre of officers – dynamic, sincere, responsible and dedicated to their duties. They do not hesitate to sacrifice their today for making others’ tomorrow safe and peaceful.

Selection of army officers – The selection of army officers is done after higher secondary education on the basis of written examinations and a thorough interview testing aptitude, leadership qualities, general ability and intellectual acumen. After their selection, they get four years of rigorous training – three years in NDA at Kharakwasla, and for one year in IMA at Dehradun in the case of Army, Hyderabad in the case of Air Force and Cochin in the case of Navy.

Training more successful during formative years of life – The training of army personnel is done at the age, when their minds are still in formative stage. The training is so tough and seriously imparted that either trainees come up-to the desired standard or quit it in between, if they were unable to cope with the rigors of the tough training and disciplined way of working. The officers are given further education and initial training under strict supervision of seniors. The three years training in NDA prepares them for performing their duties as armed forces officers well. By the time they pass out, they are well equipped with basic requirements of their jobs.

Similar is the practice in the field of medicine and engineering – Selection immediately after higher secondary and then further education and thorough training in their specific discipline for a period of four years. India has earned a name globally in IT sector. A small band of officers for Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers are well known for their expertise and efficient performance. It is well known that Indian Engineers, especially from IITs and Indian Doctors are in great demand abroad.

Pre-entry training of young minds – Recently Kota in Rajasthan has developed into a coaching hub for IITians. It has produced many toppers and send hundreds to engineering colleges. Now-a-days competition has become so tough that it is never too early for learning. Many coaching institutes in Kota, and elsewhere in Rajasthan Assam and Punjab are planning to start special training programs (Pre-foundation Career Care Program (PCCP) aimed at “better conceptual understanding” for students of Standard VIII. It is meant to develop a “scientific temperament, mathematical aptitude, problem-solving skills, reasoning and competitive psychology” at an early age, no matter whether students pronounce/comprehend these phrases or not.

Suggestion for early recruitment in government services – It is advisable that the cadre of officers engaged in the task of governance should be selected early to equip them with intellectual, moral and physical qualities essential to perform the complex and delicate job of development administration effectively and efficiently. While their minds are still in the formative stage, it is easier for the Government to take a purposeful approach to articulate the required thinking, attitude and knowledge in them.

Job-oriented education and training will imbibe in them intellectual knowledge, qualities, attitudes and skills according to the increasing and diversified needs of the modern administration, such as social purposefulness, public service consciousness, ability to understand administrative, political and economic implications of a problem, resourcefulness in solving them, creativeness, dynamism, up to date knowledge in their particular discipline, capacity for team-work, good fellowship, ability to cooperate, alertness in grasping a situation and quickness in assimilating relevant facts and persuasiveness in presenting their point of view. It will deepen the awareness of professional norms. It will facilitate the Government to have right type of people required for an efficient administration.

Analysis

“Empowerment of weaker sections” – Experiences of more than sixty years show that these concessions for SCT/OBC at national level could not achieve the desired goals. It could not make qualitative change in the pathetic condition of majority of people belonging to weaker sections or could ‘empower’ them so far. Their problems still remain intact. “Empowerment” is only a political slogan as of date. Presence of a few persons of a section in power structure does not change the destiny of its majority. These political campaigns mislead people and betray the cause. Reservation is mirage. It is a benevolent gesture of the authority to tame people. It does not give real benefit to the cause of disadvantaged or help in their emancipation.

Conclusion

Now in the twenty first century, many people do not understand the rationale of reservation policy. Quite often, question arises in their minds – has the age relaxation for SC, ST or OBC in UPSC competitive examination truly helped these communities to empower themselves or upgraded their social and economic status and led to their sustainable development? No doubt, a very small number of persons, like a few drops in the ocean, have been benefitted by it. But what about the vast majority?

If under-representation is criteria, then why not for women

If any homogeneous group in India deserves special concessions in matter of age relaxation, it is that of women. All the arguments about ‘near absence of in power echelons/seriously under-represented in the echelons of power, discrimination, oppression, exploitation due to their inferior social position in the past’, remaining disadvantaged from time immemorial because of sociological reasons or denial of basic human rights by the socio-political authorities stand valid in the case of women irrespective of caste or creed.

Why women need special attention of the government? – The need of special attention or giving some concessions to women in matter of opportunities arises, not because they are intellectually inferior or not fit enough to take up responsible jobs, but because they have sacrificed the most crucial and energetic years of their life in taking care of the future generation and thus, serving the nation by giving to it confident and good citizens. They, as mothers, cultivate in their children positive qualities, which once imbibed, inevitably become part of one’s nature and provide guidelines for their wholesome behavior pattern in future. For such valuable contribution to the society and the nation, if they could not be rewarded, then at least, they should not be punished.

Democracy demands equal opportunity to all

Granting any exclusive concession to any community or section of society on the basis of government’s policy of Reservation or granting special concessions to some is discriminatory by its very nature. It is a very sensitive issue, because for a few persons, it may yield positive results, but for the rest, it is a negative step. Denial of equal opportunity to any individual in any walk of life simply means denying to its citizens basic human rights to grow, govern and give ones best to the nation. As Irving Kristol has said ‘Democracy does not guarantee equality of conditions- it only guarantees equality of opportunity’. Government of a democratic country should always try to ensure for all its citizens equality of opportunity to develop their personality to the fullest regardless of birth, circumstances, gender or race.

Need to Review the policy – The time has come, when the whole scenario should be visualized and analyzed honestly without any bias in the light of present atmosphere. Time has changed. The valid grounds for giving age relaxation and other preferences in matter public employment needs to be reviewed. Can the old arguments of 1947 of near absence of SC/ST/OBC in power echelons or their exploitation still be justified in 2011? Is not the Article 16(4) of the constitution being misused for vested interests of some people? If any section of society deserves age relaxation for the entry into civil services, on the grounds of being disadvantaged from time immemorial, or being busy in a more important job of raising their families and taking care of future citizens to the nation in responsible manner, it is the women only irrespective of caste or creed, not SCs/STs/OBCs.

Way out

Make people capable – To uplift the position of marginalized sections of the society and to include the vast reservoir of human resource, which has still remained untapped and unutilized to a great extent even today, the first step would be to make them capable of holding the power judiciously. It necessitates providing a good and congenial atmosphere for development of their personalities and inculcating in them knowledge, attitude, work-habits and skills through sound education and training..

Inspire the people – The second step would be to inspire submerged sections of society to join the mainstream. It necessitates providing enough job-opportunities and give to them suitable atmosphere to work, which means toning up the system. The traditional values, religious beliefs, socio-economic-political set up and circumstances, which create hurdles on the way of their inclusion in the mainstream, should be removed. The intensity of their adverse affect varies from group to group and from region to region. The task of involving them in developmental tasks/nation building activities needs national determination and political will.

Some other measures needs to be taken to enhance self-esteem and the active participation of SC,ST and OBC along with other sections of society in nation building, like : –

  • First of all, policy makers should accept that liberation means liberation from atrocities.
  • Provide ‘education to all’ in order to inculcate scientific temper and courage to fight against evil social practices. Easy access to Open University and distance education programs could be considered for this purpose,
  • Provide more and more job oriented vocational courses for them,
  • Promote entrepreneurship,
  • Facilitate credit by providing financial assistance,
  • Create awareness to fight social evils and superstitions,
  • Create awareness about the opportunities available to them,
  • As an Economic and industrial measure, reorganizing Village economy like development of livestock, minimum wages, development of rural and cottage industries, handloom industry, village oil industry, coir industry. Village handicrafts etc.
  • Create awareness about the legal infrastructure of the nation, especially the special legal measures to protect them from atrocities and exploitation.

Mr. Kalelkar’s opinion – In his note of dissent Mr. Kalelkar noted- “National solidarity in a democratic set up demands Government to recognize only two ends – the individual at one end and the nation as a whole at the other”…. “Mutual help, mutual respect and mutual trust are the touchstone, on which all communal and denominational activities will be tested and anything that undermines it, will be expected and brought to book.I (BCC I, para IV)

“The special concession and privileges accorded to Hindu Castes acted as a bait and bribe” and inciting other communities.

“It is only, when a community or a group is proved to be working under a special handicap and is not allowed to freely function as a citizen, that the state may intervene and make a special provision for the advancement of such under privileged and handicapped communities or persons… A general formula for helping all persons to whatever caste or community, they may belong, should be made.” ( BCC I, para VIII).

Mr. Kalelkar concluded that giving an additional weapon in weak hands was no remedy. The remedies, the commission suggested were worse than the evil, they were out to combat. In his letter forwarding the report, Kalelkar remarked I am definitely against Reservation in Government services for any community for the simple reason, that services are not meant for the servants, but they are meant for the service of society as a whole.

June 14, 2018 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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