05-Jan-19-BJP OBC MP proposes quota system reforms

January 5, 2019:The Times of India

NEW DELHI: BJP lawmaker Dr Vikas Mahatme stirred up a hornet’s nest on Friday when he asked whether a common shepherd’s son can compete with his son while moving a resolution in the Rajya Sabha to change the current reservation system. The eye specialist from Nagpur, who belongs to the same shepherd community, said only a few castes or categories of people have been cornering the benefit of reservation, who have progressed socially and educationally.

“I belong to the Dhangar community. I am a doctor and an eye specialist. My son and another young man from the shepherd community compete against each other because both are in the OBC category. Do you think that we are providing equal platform to the two for a fair competition? Who will be ahead in the race, my son or the son of a common shepherd?” he asked.

Moving a resolution to adopt “weighted indexing system” for reservation rather than following the present system so that same families don’t keep on cornering benefits, the Padmashree awardee suggested that once parents have availed the benefit of reservation to get a government job, the next generation should not get the same benefit and similarly once an MLA or MP gets elected from a reserved seat, he/ she should move to a general constituency. He said the proposed system could help create a “casteless society”.

Mahatme also said people who hit streets, protest demanding justice or reservation for the communities often don’t get the benefit. “Only 10% who are highly educated or are from high income group, who have never come on to the street corner the benefit,” he said pointing out how these are the people who fuel such protests, which sometimes get violent and spread hatred among castes and communities.

Mahatme withdrew the resolution after personnel and training minister Jitendra Singh said that the MP could submit his views to the committee that has been set up for sub-categorisation of OBCs, which will give its report by May end. However, Mahatme’s views on changing the criteria to identify the backwardness based on different parameters kicked up a debate in the House. During the discussion. Congress, Samajwadi Party and RJD members opposed the weighted index system for SCs, STs and OBCs in central government institutions.

Sharing data, Mahatme said about 97% of the reservation benefits have been cornered by 25% of the castes from OBC and about 37% have got no benefit.

The BJP lawmaker said the current mechanism is faulty because it’s presumed that everyone from the SC, ST and OBC are equally backward and deprived, which is not right. He said the proposed weighted index system should assess the backwardness considering the social and educational backwardness of people.

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