Mumbai, May 7: Making a strong representation to the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry on the issue of reservations in higher educational institutions, the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) said the issue of reservations, introduced earlier as a temporary solution, may be resolved once and for all with a comprehensive and view on the uplift of disadvantaged section.
''The Chamber concedes that reservations are not new for India and the Indian economy. However, when introduced, these reservations were intended to be a temporary measure-mainly to enable the poor and the downtrodden to rise. But infortunately, such kind of protection has now assumed permanent overtones,'' according to a statement here today.
The permanency, according to the Chamber, has been strengthened by the peculiar nature of party politics in India. The caste-based politics which is so dominant has made the caste card a vital factor in the battle of the ballot. Most parties therefore, prefer to jump on to the caste bandwagon rather than take a firm or a reasonable stand on any issue. Therefore, for reasons other than economic, reservations have continued for almost 60 years after independence.
The reservation issue has once again made a comeback to the forefront, with the government considering reservations not just in the private corporate sector but in education as well.
The Chamber unequivocally feels that in education as well as employment, merit and capability has to ultimately prevail and the concept of reservation without reference to merit can only have a distorting effect and affect the social and moral fabric.
Besides, the Chamber feels, past experience has shown that the policy of reservations has not achieved dramatic results.
''For instance, half a century of job reservation in government services has created only a thin creamy layer of the backward castes who have benefitted. Therefore, the Chamber feels that even if there are reservations in educational institutes, the results will not be any different,'' the statement said.
The Chamber also feels that the Supreme Court has taken a reasonable stance on the issue. On March 29, it had stayed the Central law providing for 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in elite institutions like the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) and all Central universities.
The apex court held that the 1931 Census could not be a decisive, determinative factor to identify the OBCs for seat reservation.
However, it clarified that the benefit of reservation for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes could not be withheld and the Centre can go ahead with the identification process to determine the backward classes.
The bench, headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, has now fixed May 8 to take up an application moved by the Union Government seeking early hearing on the constitutional validity of the law providing 27 per cent quota for the OBCs in elite educational institutions.
The Chamber is all for 'affirmative' action, but certainly not through the failed route of reservations. It believes that a view aimed at the uplift of disadvantaged section alone would resolve the issue once and for all.