Thoughts on economics and liberty

Join the debate on whether there should be reservations

I chanced upon this discussion on the We DEMAND Freedom and Good Governance! Facebook group which is open to the public. Join this group and join in the debate. 

Current discussion:

Vishal Kumar Singh The middle class does not like reservations.Reservations are fundamentally wrong. But, if there is no equality of opportunity then there is no moral case against reservation. And equality of opportunity is a joke in India. In today's India it is impossible that your kid and your maid's kid are on equal footing. India needs strong policies for creating equality of opportunity and then only can politically a case be made to give away with reservations.

Rohini Khuperkar agreed.. unequal opportunities create possibility of reservations..

Yazdy Rusi Palia Vishal, how is this achieved? Who pays for it? This sounds so much like a Socialist slogan. I am at a loss. Equal opportunity, according to me is an arrangement where the opportunity is there but one has to earn it. I am not against the maids children studying with my kids but either I pay for it or arrange for a private sponsor who would bear the expenses. Certainly, you do not mean that the state bears it?

Manjit Kaur For equal opportunities some one has to pay for the other. This is quite fair in a democratic set up. Otherwise how will the society develop? There are thousands who are blessed by the properties of their ancestors and millions who are from poor families. The gap has to be bridged some where.

Yazdy Rusi Palia The question is should it be by force?

Manjit Kaur We are robbed of in Government Offices daily by force. Does any body complain????

Yazdy Rusi Palia Do two wrongs make a right Manjit?

Vishal Kumar Singh The state will bear it. Let me make explain more. We all will agree that we are all interconnected as a society. It is in our interest that we have capable people in a society. Capable people who can sell their skills to each other. Equa…

Anil Sharma Vishal, I am glad that you have made this assertion about equal opportunity. I have come to believe now that FTI would need to invest mostly into this policy area to have any realistic chance at electoral politics. This is the harsh reality of Indian society and politics in general. The problem of implementation of equal opportunity is the rampant discrimination in Indian society at every level from region, religion, caste, colour, language, gender and the list goes on.

Yazdy Rusi Palia Anil, am disappointed. This will only dilute the principle of the primacy of individual rights. As I understand, if there is a market, people will create the products necessary, in this case, quality education. The problem is government controls. Let control over education be lifted and there will be thousands of entrepreneurs who will come into the field to give quality education. 

What disappointed me most in your remark is that "I have come to believe now that FTI would need to invest in this area ——- to have any chance at electoral politics in general". In short to get a chance at electoral politics we dilute our principles of liberty? I am disappointed.

Vishal Kumar Singh Also we need to see what the situation is today. India is completely socialist today with reservation as policy completely entrenched. The only way to reverse reservation policy is to create a fair policy of equal opportunity. Even this is going to face severe resistance.

In short we need to base our actions on what the reality is today. And the reality is that we are deep into socialism and the only way out is equal opportunity framework.

Yazdy Rusi Palia Equal opportunity is completely ok. However, when you say the government creates equal opportunity, there is something wrong there. First of all we have to define what is meant by equal opportunity. 

I firmly believe that if the government walks out of education, thousands of small entrepreneurs will come into the picture. You already have the example of the number of computer institutes in every small town. There will be competition in education and the cost of education will come down and the quality will improve as soon as the government stops control of schools. As it is, people are willing to pay heavily to get their children admitted to English medium schools. Once the controls are removed there will be thousands of such schools operating from small premises. 

Equal opportunities should mean open up the schools, let there be no education department in the government and quality education will be available in plenty.

Vishal Kumar Singh Let me qualify my statement- I am not saying that state creates equal opportunity. I am saying state is the only entity that can be made responsible for creating equal opportunity. It will be perfectly alright if state follows the policy of privatizing to create equal opportunity.

The point is there is no other entity which can be made responsible for equal opportunity. Charity is okay, but is not responsibility of anyone to be charitable. You cannot demand anyone to be charitable, but state can be demanded to provide equal opportunity.

Beyond who is responsible, we all will agree that all of us deserve to have equal opportunity. We as society want every one to have a fair chance to do well. My son and my maid's son should get access to good education. There will neither be reservation for my maid's son or my son.

This is only about fairness as a system. No body is guaranteeing the outcomes with reservation. Every one gets access to good primary education and then it up to individual what he becomes.

Yazdy Rusi Palia You have now made things clear Vishal. Actually just removing government role in education will do.

Anil Sharma Palia saab, I am currently working in the education sector in a small area of UP. Let me state that for all practical purposes people have choice like never before in education sector. We did a survey in Noida, Ghaiziabad and Meerut area and within 60km radius there are more than 65 institutions that provide a degree in IT. The competition in education sector is so fierce that private schools, colleges and institutions are struggling to fill the spaces; even the best of private institutions have only about 70-75% seats filled.

But the problem is of affordability and a huge mass of children cannot afford to get to these private schools/colleges. In my village there is a private school that charges about Rs. 100 fee per month but there are lots of families that can't even afford this. By the way 99% of these kids are from lower castes. They send their kids to the govt. run primary school. One way this can be fixed is to close down the govt. run primary school and give parent the vouchers to have the choice to send their kids to private schools. A case for equal opportunity.

I hope you must have seen the Satyamev Jayte program a week or so ago on caste discrimination, here is the link if you haven't watched it: 

See the story of little girls from lower castes who have to clean the toilets in school. This kills the soul. Tell me how would she get a good education without discrimination?

Palia saab, I have lived in the villages and I can say with some good experience that the problem is getting worse.ouchability – Satyamev Jayate

Yazdy Rusi Palia AS bhai, in the first sentence you state that things are better and people have lots of choices. The last two lines you claim things are getting bad to worse. I am confused Anil Sharma. 

I did watch that episode of Satyamev Jayate. It is horrifying. However, what is your point ? The one suggestion that you make is reasonable if subsidy is acceptable. The other way could be tax incentives to industry to contribute in education. 

I do not believe that these children should be humiliated by charity. If however some of the arm chair critics would spend 3 months each in the countrysides especially retired people, one could achieve a lot.

Anil Sharma Palia saab, please re-read my comments where did I say that things are better? Only that there are choices in education for people who can afford. In your previous post you mentioned that once education system has choices it will sort out the problem of equal opportunity. Sadly it hasn't. There is a role for govt to ensure equal opportunity but through private enterprise, like school voucher system.


And the problem that I mention that is getting worse is that of discrimination. The point about Satyamev Jayate is what you saw there is just the tip of the iceberg of problem. The real face of Indian society is too ugly. It's not only the arm chair critics who need to have a reality check of their views about India but a lot like us too.

Vishal Kumar Singh ‎Anil Sharma Indeed one needs voucher system.

I will digress and ask few questions. I thought I will send you mail but then I thought it will make sense to ask you on this forum, as this information will help others.

As you said in your village, people are not able to afford Rs 100 for child education and they are from lower caste. When you mean lower caste, are these Dalits only or they are mix of OBC , Dalits.

The reason I ask is, as I understand OBC like Yadavs in UP are a landowning class and after Mandal they have become politically strong. Do these people also cannot afford Rs 100 after so much of empowerment. 

I can understand that Dalits may not have not done well but apart from Dalits , the so called lower caste (OBC) are they really in such a bad position.

Yazdy Rusi Palia Anil Sharma, When I mentioned that if the competition is opened, I meant, let there be absolutely no controls. The controls by the government is hindering more schools coming up.

Vishal Kumar Singh ‎Yazdy Rusi Palia There was discussion on education in this group.

The fact of the matter is that education can be a costly business, if you need to attract right teachers. There is no way a school in a slum will have the kind of teachers, say in a middle class area. To set the level playing field you need to have vouchers which are priced based on the income of parents. Schools will then go in slums for wanting high priced vouchers. I think pure free markets in education will not work.

Sanjeev has written in his book BFN about negative income tax and vouchers.

Anil Sharma Vishal, first a bit on nomenclature. Dalits do not come under the caste system. The Hindu varna system excludes Dalits. They are deems so low that they are the outcasts. The lowest in varnas system are Shudras and these are the ones that make the so called lower castes. In lower castes there are just too many castes from Yadavs, Shepards, Carpenter, Kushwahas, Kurmis, Kumhars etc. and the list goes on.

Now among the Shudras or the lower castes at least in UP and Bhiar the Yadavs and Kurmis have become the dominant power. This has been more because of political patronage; a lot of Yadavs got jobs during Mulayams earlier rule especially in police force. Yadavs are not land owning class in my opinion at least not in the eastern UP.

Specifically in my village the kids who can't go to private school are mostly from Dalits and other lower castes; some are from Yadav castes as well.

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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8 thoughts on “Join the debate on whether there should be reservations
  1. sonal

    Reservation is the Curse for the development of India as the rights for the Bright Students are being Crushed in the name of reservation people in politics us the word reservation for the benefit of their own by using it as the vote bank, if the Government or such people really want to do something then they should give proper education to the people who can’t afford good education and contribute in the development of the India and help it to become the superpower by giving it goodquality of education


    I can only make some suggestions, which might never be followed – the condition of our primary education system is quite poor- make it more efficient. Reservation should be abolished after 10th/12th std, & a ‘scholarship programme’ should be introduced for the ‘backward’ students interested to pursue higher education. Reservation/scholarship should be granted to only ‘economically backward’ students(irrespective of their caste) on strict economical basis.

  3. vidhita sangwan

    if the government does not help the poor children or we do not help them study we are backard in our thinking and also leading our nation behind.we have to became their inspertion not their enemy

  4. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    The government should directly fund the education of the poorest children. Kindly read BFN/ SKC agenda for details.

  5. ravi

    the policy of reservation started for whom who are social there social backwarsness abolished? if not then how we can say that now the policy of reservation is not relevant.first of all we should give them equal apportunity in society and then see after reservation policy

  6. sprp

    Reservation is curse for India because in India many student who are so much educated but they did not get any job because of reservation.Today many students frustated who are the government should stop the reservation