Reservation in India is a government policy backed by the Constitution of India. The purpose of which is the advancement of the ST/SCs or any of the socially and economically weaker classes as per Articles 15 (4), (5) and (6); and the adequate representation of any backward and economically weaker sections as per Article 16 (4) and (6). In our country, reservation is provided in any government educational institutions, government jobs and the Parliament and state legislatures. For certain reservation categories, additional relaxations, such as upper-age relaxations are also provided.
To an extent, reservation as a policy has been seen as a corrective measure to undo the historical injustices done to certain castes by the so-called “upper castes”. We live in a free country and democracy gifts this freedom to us. We have the right to exercise this freedom equitably. To protect this right, the government must ensure that equality and equity prevail across all sections of society.
However, today, the issue of equality is being raised by many in our society. Speaking about Meghalaya, the reservation policy has been the same for the past 50 years. Over the past few weeks, the issue of reservation in Meghalaya became a hot topic with a voice echoing that there is a need for a justified approach to ensure fair treatment in all aspects for the job aspirants belonging to the state. It is undeniable that we need an updation and upgradation as per the changing needs of the society but at the same time we are also aware that to bring about uniformity in development there should be equal distribution of reservation among the three main tribal groups in Meghalaya i.e., Khasis, Garos and Jaintias.
Reforms in the reservation system is the need of the hour – a very important issue and we understand amendments cannot be made immediately, it should be done only after proper analyzation and evaluation. The policy of reservation has never been subject to any kind of social or political audit, hence the entire policy needs to be properly examined and its benefits have to be gauged. There is no second question that all castes and classes should be adequately represented in government services. But what can be called adequate– without compromising merit or efficiency of administration? Reservation is no doubt a good policy, particularly for the benefit of the socio-economically backward classes. As a citizen of Meghalaya, I am looking forward to witness a positive improvement in the reservation policy that will be beneficial, especially for the youth of the state and also for the state as a whole.
Sabrina S. Marwein