reserving seats in government jobs and educational institutions for the economically weak classes within the hitherto unreserved category of households is a severely flawed idea. even if this plan overcomes all legislative and judicial hurdles, still it is as bad an idea as was the stripping the 500 and 1000 currency notes of their legal tender status (popularly called demonetisation).
any policy or legislation cannot bring a positive change unless the implementation is perfect, or at least near-perfect. in the case of 10 percent quota for the general category, the implementation part is so tricky that the fairy-tale idea will lose all its relevance without delivering even a small slice of intended benefits.
one of the parameters as suggested by the government to recognize the economically backward families is to consider the annual income of the household. should that be less than 8 lakh rupees, the members shall stand eligible for benefits under quota. but wait. in a highly informal and unorganized economy that prevails in our country, would the government agencies be ever able to identify the true needy?
in an informal economy like ours, most of the transactions are still settled in cash. from small to medium shopkeepers to those engaged in services like coaching classes to medium scale farmers, almost everyone earns more than the government can ever notice, all because of the cash component that is either unreported or underreported. the surge in number of households where females too earn some cash from unconventional sources such as tuition classes or part time jobs makes the entire concept even more complicated.
this will eventually lead to another problem. since the demand for certificates approving family income less than the stipulated to qualify for quota benefits will be immensely high, this could motivate implementing agencies to seek illicit kickbacks and the price shall be so high that the actual needy will be elbowed out and only those capable to pay the bribe will grab the certificate and thereby the benefits under the scheme.
second, there is a case of disowned child. this can be real where the child after attaining 18 years of age may still be deserving of quota benefits. but what if such cases are faked only to gain quota benefits?
from owning benami properties (under the land-holding parameter) to underreporting earnings, we still have issues that will serve as irremovable roadblocks in the way to achieving what is desired from the new quota idea. moreover, reservation on economic backwardness can serve no other purpose than the short-term goal of garnering public support during polls.
the common man has to astutely decipher the idea as proposed by the government so that they aren’t deceived in the same manner as they were while the execution of the much-touted demonetisation exercise that was to rid the country of black money and corruption.