Thursday, June 29, 2006

Sitaram Yechury on CPI-M's stand on quotas


Via Locana's Anand: Sitaram Yechury of the Communist Party of India - Marxist clarifies his party's stand on quotas:

... Mere appeals for a change of heart or behaviour cannot and will not eliminate this obnoxious system [of caste-based social oppression]. In order to do so, we require to bring about a radical realignment in the economic empowerment of these sections. This means the implementation of sweeping land reforms that will empower the vast majority of the socially-oppressed sections. With economic assets as the basis, the struggle against social manifestations of caste oppression can be conducted.

Mere moral outrage or even a correct understanding of the social roots of the problem cannot lead to its elimination unless sweeping agrarian reforms are implemented. It is precisely this that the dominant political leadership of Independent India did not do. It is precisely this that communists seek to achieve. The implementation of land reforms in West Bengal and Kerala may not have eliminated caste identity but have surely led to a quantum decline in caste-based social oppression.

Since we continue to work for such changes elsewhere in the country, our support for reservations, therefore, cannot be seen as the final solution for ending caste oppression. Reservations in the present conditions are a necessity that offer some relief to some individuals in these communities, enhance their confidence in their advance and seek to make them more equal in the vastly growing unequal society in India. However, by themselves, reservations cannot be the final solution to the problem. The final solution can come only with a sweeping agrarian revolution that economically empowers these sections. [...]

Clearly, ... the benefits of [reservations] should naturally reach the most needy sections within the OBCs. Introduction of an economic criteria, which the CPI(M) alone had suggested in the Nineties, was mercifully upheld by the Supreme Court in its definition of the ‘creamy layer’. This will have to be integrated with the OBC reservations in higher education.

The CPI(M), while supporting reservations, is engaged in strengthening the struggles on the larger agenda of the economic empowerment of these sections. This alone can render the caste system and the associated caste oppression as an ‘anachronism’ in modern India.

3 Comments:

  1. Anonymous said...

    'Reservations in the present conditions are a necessity that offer some relief to some individuals in these communities, enhance their confidence in their advance and seek to make them more equal in the vastly growing unequal society in India.'

    Is he speaking about laxatives or reservations? His ill-concealed disapproval ('..offer some relief to some individuals..')speaks volumes. Class act.

  2. Anonymous said...

    If you thought Reservations end with admissions in IIT, please read the following from Academics@ IIT Delhi http://www.iitd.ac.in/bsw/academic.htm
    Department Change at IIT .. A student is eligible to apply for change of discipline at the end of first year only provided he/she satisfies the criteria: CGPA for the General Category students greater than or equal to 7.50 and CGPA for SC/ST category students greater than or equal to 6.50.

    MHRD and the job reservation in private sector supporting UGC Chief must be working hard to set new standards for OBCs.
    Let my country go to sleep, let my country go to sleep .......

  3. Anonymous said...

    The fact that reservation policies in admissions to higher educational institutions tend to benefit a creamy layer of SC and ST students is often taken by critics as prima facie evidence that these policies are failing to achieve their objective. Such an inference would be warranted, however, only if the primary objective of these policies were to improve the distribution of educational opportunities within the SC and ST communities. But reservation policies in higher educational institutions are obviously not the right way to promote such an objective; a much more promising way would be to expand SC and ST access to primary and secondary education and to improve the quality of the schools in which SC and ST students are most likely to enrol.

    Positive discrimination policies in admissions to higher educational institutions should instead be understood as an effort to promote the integration of the upper strata of society – by increasing the access of members of highly disadvantaged and under-represented communities to elite occupations and decision-making positions.21 Such integration of a society’s elite promises a variety of benefits, including: greater legitimacy of the political system, better performance of jobs involving familiarity with and understanding of disadvantaged communities; more equal opportunity for ordinary members of SC and ST communities to resources and jobs; greater motivation of SC and ST youth to work to better their future prospects. From this perspective, what matters most in judging the success of reservation policies in higher educational admissions is whether the beneficiaries in relatively elite institutions succeed in completing their degree programmes and advancing into successful careers. The very limited evidence available on this question suggests that most SC and ST students enrolled in elite higher educational institutions in India do indeed go on to successful careers – certainly much more so than they would have in the absence of reservation policies.22