Monday, June 05, 2006

Reservation: The curious case of Tamil Nadu

I have already said a lot about the aggressive program of reservation in the state of Tamil Nadu, in this blog as well as over at How the Other Half Lives. I just offer a few links to informative articles/posts:

First up, we have this recent piece in Rediff by Shobha Warrier [Thanks to Shiva Pennathur for the alert].

Next, we have Aswin with a nice explanation of how Tamil Nadu has managed to implement its aggressive quota regime that sets aside 69 percent of its seats for SC/ST/MBC/BC students, and still not fall afoul of the Supreme Court ruling that limits quotas to less than 50 percent. While there at Aswin's blog, do take a look at this post where he asks some uncomfortable questions. He is right to demand detailed data (caste-wise as well as class-wise break-up) on who exactly benefits from quotas.


  1. Anonymous said...

    And there is a bit that I still dont understand..why sit on it for 13 years?

  2. Anonymous said...

    Flagrant violation of a direct order from the apex court, contempt of court, evasion of justice, obfuscation tactics, utter disregard for basic sense of propriety.

  3. Anonymous said...

    From what I know (anecdotally), the biggest factor that predicts a student's performance in the TNPCEE entrance examination is the school (obvious.. but needs to be said). Urban schools are (much) better than rural schools, private schools are (much) better than government schools etc. This dynamic was not present in the +2 results - which obviously depended on rote-memorization and you could see wildcard winners in +2. This is why TNPCEE has been scrapped.

    All in all, the dice is loaded heavily in favour of rural, non-FC students in TN - particularly MBC, SC/ST. And it would be ridiculous to say that "merit" has not been diluted with this move. Except for NIT Trichy, no TN college finds a place in the top 10 engg colleges in India. This is not a very bad thing though - placements have been quite strong, and a lot of engineers who caused the IT revolution studied in TN (of course along with the engineers from Karnataka and AP).

    Another clear effect has been the shift of FC students to IIT/BITS and other national institutes and their subsequent (almost guaranteed) trip to the US.

  4. Anonymous said...

    A lot of people, for example, one fellow blogger, are not able to understand as to how Tamil Nadu implements 69 % reservation without actually affecting the Open Quota for 50 %

    Hence I thought I will explain the very simple mechanism.

    Merit list is prepared in the usual way. Click here for the TNPSC 2003 Merit List which we will use as an example to know the details

    Now you see Ranks 1 to 533 and there are various columns. Please concentrate on Rank and Community Rank (W Rank means Rank in Women's Quota and WC Rank means Rank in Women's community Quota - Tamil Nadu has 33 % reservation for women, and if you don't know the intricacies of rolling roster you will be confused a lot)

    Apart from Women's Quota of 33 % (that comes inside each of the community), the reservation followed is

    Open Competition - 31
    Backward Community - 30
    Most Backward Community - 20
    Scheduled Caste - 18 (This is 15 % in Central Government)
    Scheduled Tribe - 1 ((This is 7.5 % in Central Government)

    Now assume that they need to select 100 candidates.

    They select Candidates from Rank 1 to 31 . So far there is NO problem.

    Then they select candidates in General Turn (Open Competetion) from Rank 32 to 50 and in this case you have just three candidates (Ranks 36, 40 and 45) and they deduct these seats from the BC and MBC Quota in the normal ratio of 3:2 and in this case they will deduct 2 seats from BC and one seat from MBC

    That is they will select only 28 instead of the 30 marked for BC and 19 instead of 20 for the MBC.

    If you see again, 22 persons from BC and 4 persons from MBC and 1 person from SC have been already selected Under open Competetion along with (4 candidates from Forward Community)

    So the candidates who are in Rank 23 to 50 (28) in the BC Rank List and those who are in Rank 5 to 23 (19) in the MBC list and those in the Rank 2 to 19 (18) in the SC list and the first ranking ST Candidate will be selected to make up 100 seats.

    Now if you see, they have not ADDED seats (which need AICTE and MCI permission) and if a candidate from Forward Community manages to come within the top 50 % he will be selected.

    Now why this is successful in Tamil Nadu is for the simple reason that Forward Community get less than 10 % of Seats in Open Community in Tamil Nadu.

    In the 2005 MBBS Admissions, out of 430 seats in Open Competition

    Open Seats - 430 (31 %)

    321 BC students,
    57 MBC students
    14 SC students will get into the open competition.
    38 Forward Community

    So in the next 264 ranks (19%) there will be just (on an average) 23 candidates and they will cancel 14 seats from BC quota and 9 seats MBC Quota and allot the seats. The truth is that the actual reservation is not exactly 69 %... It will be some 65 % but as far as no one from BC complains, the system will go on. The reservation may get down to 50 % if forward caste candidates are able to score the top ranks.

    The forward caste cannot complain for the simple reason that the 50% seats are not affected and MCI and AICTE don't care as more students are not enrolled.

  5. Anonymous said...


    Pro reservationationists ironically favour Muslims who only speak Hindi at home or Nayudus and Reddys who speak only Telugu at home. At the same time they treat Tamil-speaking Brahmins and Chettiars as foreign invaders by excluding them . They also claim to fight for the Tamil dividing Tamil society!!? PMK, DMK, ADMK etc reject creamy layer, support the cruel 2-tumbler system of Southern Tamil Nadu and now demand extended reservation. PMK leader will go Delhi, Hyderabad and Bombay to promote reservation rather than setting up Tamil learning centers in those places. This shows that Tamil Nadu policitians don't mind loosing their self respect and prefer to worship their Hindi masters than to work for an integrated Tamil society. Incidently the PMK health minister has made Hindi compulsory for medicine, the the DMK surface transport minister has made Hindi compulsory on national roads even in Tamil Nadu.