Global Background of Indian Reservation System

A reservation or affirmative action system is not uncommon in the global community and is found in one way or another in most countries around the globe, such as the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, held in 1969, argues that the principles of equality sometimes require states to take affirmative action to reduce or eliminate conditions which cause or contribute to perpetuating discrimination in society and which , as such, prevail in the United States, United Kingdom, China, Canada, Brazil, Finland, Germany, Japan, Israel, Malaysia, Norway, Romania, New Zealand, South Korea, South Africa, Sweden, Sri Lanka and a host of others, however, what is unique is its base caste, although in general affirmative action refers to a set of policies and practices in within a government or organization aimed at including particular groups s on the basis of their gender, race, sexuality, creed or nationality in areas where they are unrepresented or underrepresented, particularly in education and employment.

The nature and extent of reservations also varies from region to region and country to country, ranging from a strict quota to simple targeting of incentives for increased participation. While under a quota system a certain percentage of government jobs, political positions and school vacancies must be reserved for members of a certain group, in others the political system of the era stimulates and motivates the unprivileged to compete with others on merit and social status, a historically and globally accepted concept to achieve goals such as reducing inequality in employment and pay, increasing access to education and repairing perceived wrongs, prejudices or past obstacles.

The Constitutional Amendment Act passed in 2019, by amending Articles 15 and 16 of the Indian constitution and with reference to Article 143, provides for a 10% reservation in education and government jobs in India for sections economically lower (EWS). Thus, out of the total number of government jobs under the central and state governments, 59.50% were reserved, with caste base for 49.50% while 10% for the EWS, leaving only 40, 50% of seats to be awarded on open merit.

In independent India, caste became the sole reserve base as historically people were known as rigid social groups characterized by hereditary transmission of lifestyle, profession and social status. Although it originated in ancient India, it continued in a transformed form in medieval, Mughal and British times.

The oldest concept of Varna, which literally means type, order or class, was largely a framework, first used in Indian Vedic society. He divided the whole society into four different parts based on the works done by them. traditionally as Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras.

At that time the word ‘Jati’, meaning ‘birth’ was least heard despite the existence of thousands of jatis and wwa not applied universally due to caste being more flexible and diverse than we often assume. Over the centuries, caste became popular and was decided based on religion; ritual ranking existed within the jatis, however, an important role was also played by economics, politics and geography, ultimately making it a loosely knitted framework.

In later developments after the collapse of the Mughals and the rise of the British colonial government, the term caste was popularized as the British began to make several concessions on caste-based rules. Previously, the fall of the Mughal period saw the rise of many powerful men who associated themselves with kings, priests and ascetics asserting the regal and martial form of caste ideal and also transformed many seemingly without social groups caste into differentiated caste communities. In the British Raj too, the process of caste remodeling continued, making the caste system more rigid in organizational form and a central mechanism of administration.

It flourished specially between 1860 and 1920, when the British integrated the caste system into the governance system by mainly giving administrative jobs and senior appointments to Christians and selected castes. When after the 1920s the social unrest increased in proportion, they initiated the policy of affirmative action by reserving a certain percentage of government jobs for the lower castes and after the independence of the country, the reservation for the scheduled castes and Scheduled Tribes was incorporated into the country’s constitution. making the First Amendment in 1951.

Thus, throughout the period, the Jatis existed in India among Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and tribal peoples with no clear linear order between them. Currently, there are four types of prevalent reservations in India, three of which are based on caste and the last based on economic backwardness, for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) having 10% reservation passing the 103rd reservation amendment , implemented in 2019.

Upon gaining independence, the first reservation instruction was issued on September 21, 1947 which provided for 12.5% ​​vacancies to be reserved for scheduled castes in open competition and in others it was 16 ,2.3% while in another resolution dated September 13, 1950, a five percent reservation was provided for Scheduled Tribes. Again, it was revised in light of the census report which recorded their population at 14.64% and 6.80% respectively, their reserve percentage increased from 12.5 and 5% to 15 and 7, 5% according to a notification published on March 25, 1970.

On the other hand, Other Backward Classes (OBCs) are described in the Constitution of India (Section 340) as socially and educationally backward classes which constituted about 52% of the total population as mentioned in the report of the Commission Mandal of 1980 and are entitled to get 27% reservations in public sector employment and higher education as per a ruling of the Supreme Court of India rendered in 1992.

The list of OBCs is maintained by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment of India, but the number still fluctuates due to the inclusion and removal of certain castes and communities from time to time, but it is effective such as the reservation of SC/ST, in all recruitments in public sector enterprises, both under the central administration and in the States, as well as in nationalized banks.

In another important development, the Constitutional Amendment Act passed in 2019, by amending Articles 15 and 16 of the Indian constitution and with reference to Article 143, provides for a 10% reservation in education and government jobs. in India for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS). Thus, out of all government jobs under the central and state governments, 59.50% has been reserved, with caste base for 49.50% while 10% for EWS, leaving only 40.50% seats to be awarded on open merit.

Nohemi M. Moore