Reservations in 'Private' Sector
Dr. K. Jamanadas, 'Shalimar', Main Road, Chandrapur 442 402
These are my two penny worth thoughts on the subject, already published in "Mulnivasi Bahujan Organizer" of last month. One can not expect all would agree, but if now PM mentioned, something could happen. But I doubt if Bahujans sit calmly nothing will happen. Guru Gobind Singh ji had rightly said, nobody hands you power without struggle. And Reservations are Power. If Bahujans acquire political power, they will become Givers of Reservations instead of Beneficiaries.
There are many people who disagree with us and maintain that there should not be any reservation based on caste. It would divide the society more, they argue. They insist that these benefits should be based on ?economic? criteria.
Reservations is a tricky subject. It is viewed by different people from different angles. My views may not be palatable to some but I feel they depict correct understanding of history.
India always had reservations since the days of "Purush Sukta", perhaps the first declaration of Reservations on Caste basis. And these were always based on caste. If admission to army was not based on caste, India would not have been slave for centuries.
Givers of reservations and takers of reservations were always opposed to each other's interests. As of today, the takers of reservations should try to become givers of reservations. They are trying for that.
Never on economic status
Reservations should never be based on economic status for various reasons as follows:
1. The problem of poverty is not the main problem of the "excluded humanity". Poverty is not the CAUSE of Social exclusion. On the contrary poverty and deprivation and even destitution is the RESULT of Social exclusion. And as far as India is concerned, CASTE is the main form of social exclusion. And the reason for that is the religion.
2. An individual's Economic status can change. Low income may be taken to mean poverty. But the purchasing value of money, in India, depends upon caste. For example a Dalit can not buy a cup of tea even in some places.
3. Practical difficulties in proving economic status of individual to the state machinery are many. The weak may suffer.
4. In caste ridden India infested with rampant corruption, even for an unchangeable status like caste, the false "Caste Certificate" can be purchased. How much easier will it be to purchase a false "Income Certificate"? So income based reservation is impractical. It is no use arguing when both certificates can be bought, why caste only should form basis of reservation. It is certainly more difficult to buy a false caste certificate than a false income certificate.
5. Reservation is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end. The main aim is to achieve the active participation and sharing by the "socially excluded" humanity in all the fields of the affairs of the society. It is not panacea for all ills, neither it is permanent. It would be a temporary measure till such time the matrimonial advertisements in newspaper columns continue to contain the mention of caste.
6. The fields of reservations should be ALL fields of life. This includes Education, jobs, judiciary, armed forces, Industry, corporate life trade and commerce. It should include 'quota within quota' in Women's Reservation Bill and it would also include affirmative action to all including Muslims and Christians. Various methods would have to be devised to fulfill these objectives. What they call "private" sector is not at all private it is fully PUBLIC.
7. If this generation avoids the responsibility of dealing with social exclusion, their future generations would suffer. It must never be forgotten that when ever India became slave country, it was always because the givers of powers avoided to grant reservations to excluded multitudes and share power with them. There is no reason why history would not repeat itself. The slogan, therefore, should be "Share or Suffer". I am sure all must have read the speech Dr. Ambedkar delivered while presenting the Indian Constitution to the Country in November 1949.
In June 2004, the Maharashtra Govt. thought of implementing the legislation for 52% reservation in ?Private sector? companies, i.e. "Public Limited" companies. The 52% include the SC, ST, OBC and VJ NT. But the media, both print as well as electronic, were talking as if the reservations were only for SCs. This was similar to misunderstanding created during ?Mandal Agitation?, that beneficiaries were only SCs. Another misunderstanding created by the media was that the reservations were meant only for ten years and it is being extended only for gaining political mileage. No body brought forward the point that the reservation for Legislatures was for ten years but the reservation for educational institutions and government jobs were not limited by time. No body also pointed out how even that reservation also is not filled up. No body brought out the fact that reservation in promotions was stopped and many other restrictions were put in, some by legislature, some by executives and some by judiciary. No body mentioned about 50% limit put by Supreme Court on total seats that could be considered ?reserved?. No body talked about various ?rosters? put forward by authorities to scuttle the reservations. No body put forward why there should be no reservation in armed forces and judiciary and Rajya Sabha and Vidhan Parishads. No body even mentioned that the reserved seats reduced in the name of ?conversion to Buddhism? have not been restored even after the Buddhists have been brought under the ambit of reservation.
Reservations in Judiciary etc.
An IAS or IPS or IFS can reach to the level of Secretary in State or Central Ministry, nobody explained why one could not reach a stage of judge in High Court or Supreme Court. Nobody discussed why the age limit was raised by two years so that no recruitment becomes necessary. Nobody talked of the number of vacant posts of Officers in Armed Forces or Judiciary. When everybody is crying hoarse about the number of cases pending in various courts all over the country, no body even talked about increasing the seats in Law Colleges and posts of junior Officers in Judiciary. When everybody is talking of scarcity doctors, they are not increasing the seats of Medical students. They have purposefully increased the fees in Medical Engineering and Dental Colleges so that, students coming from lower strata of society could be kept out. Why there should be private Medical Colleges at all? Why all the Government District Hospitals could not be elevated to the level of so called ?Teaching Hospitals?. With just a nominal increase in expenditure, all these district hospitals could be functioning as Teaching Hospitals. All these policies are used to create and maintain the hegemony of upper castes over the society. All the Governmental agencies, kind of, work in tandem to keep the students from marginalized societies out of the main stream vocations. They talk of facilities in countries like USA, but do not give the same numbers of lawyers, judges, dentists, doctors and other service men in proportion to total population. If we try to analyze the figures, our requirement of such human resources would be about ten times higher than at the present.
Where there is a will there is a way
It is useless to say that there is no money to create more manpower. It does not require money. What is required is political will power. It was the will power of Bihar Chief Minister which created ?Charvaha schools?, for example.
It must be remembered that Shahu Maharaj had given Lawyer?s sanads to many non-graduates during his times. Even today many of the Chinese Judges are not Law Graduates in China, we are told. If it is decided to reduce the number of pending cases in court, it can be done within a period of three to five years. But in that case, the judges would not all be from upper castes alone. Former High Court Justice Kolse Patil has mentioned how a vacancy in High Court was not filled for three years to facilitate a relative of the ruling judge.
They sold the family silver to pay the butler
In spite of all these hurdles, the SC, ST and OBC youth are progressing. This has become intolerable to the upper caste rulers and they decided to stop the participation of these people in the governance of the society. For this purpose they decided to sell off Government assets at throw away prices to their near and dear ones. They created a ministry to dispose these assets off. They created a hue and cry that government industries were making huge losses. But when it came to disposing of these Government units, they did not dispose off the loss making concerns, they sold the most profit making concerns even trying to dispose of the ?Nava-Ratnas?. Even Shivsena Chief Balasaheb Thakre did not approve of some of the sales. This was because of loss of transparency. Some concerns had utilized the ?aadivasi? lands, which by law could not be transferred. Even such units were sold out at throwaway prices. A lot of talk was heard to utilize the sale proceeds for development of education and health care. No such corpus is seen to have been formed.
When such Government concerns, which employed people from Reserved Categories, were sold out, the question of reservation in Private Industries became more acute and urgent.
But it must be clearly understood that Privatization and so-called ?disinvestment? is not limited to job reservations alone. It is a conspiracy to keep the Bahujans away from avenues of powers generally.
Who robbed the seats of OBCs?
They were telling the OBCs that their share of jobs was being taken away by the SC and STs, thus creating rift among the OBCs and SC/STs. With the increase in understanding and awakening following the ?Mandal Agitation?, the Bahujans got awakened and understood that it was not the SC / STs who usurped their share of jobs, their SC / ST quota is still not fulfilled, so it is the 15% higher castes who have monopolized the 80% jobs. The participation of OBCs in agitations for Reservation got a boost, which is a must.
How are they Private Industries?
It is now well settled principle that the under-privileged castes are entitled to reservations in the state owned offices, factories and establishments, that is government and semi-government enterprises. It remains to be seen how the so-called ?private sector? is immune to the same rules.
Let us remember when we say "private" sector we mean the corporate sector, and not private businessmen, private partnership firms, or even so called ?Private Limited? companies. We are talking only of public limited companies. What is ?limited? is their liabilities, not their exploitation. The company is not "private" in any sense of the word. It is public by name, by definition, by concept, by convention and even by law. It is not even a group of persons and can not use M/S behind its name. Even legally it is not private, it is a is PUBLIC Limited Co. I just fail to understand why it should ever be called a "Private Sector".
Fistfuls of people cull a small amount from each of them and label themselves as ?promoters?. On the basis of this they collect huge amounts as share capital from the PUBLIC. On the basis of this they collect huge amounts of loans from the PUBLIC financial institutions, including Government Institutions. The present ambit of Law only includes such companies, which have taken advantage of Government resources. What is ?private? about all this money? It is all PUBLIC money they are using. Thus their capital and all resources are public and they thrive as parasites on PUBLIC funds.
They get the public lands from the Government, many times acquiring from the poor peasants and even Adivasis. They get public water, and even do not build their own approach roads and culverts but want the public agencies to foot the bill for the roads meant entirely for their exclusive use.
Mostly they depend for electricity on already impoverished State Electricity Boards. There is no reason why they should not generate their own captive power when they invest so much on other machinery. Just putting a small power plant for their own use would not be a great burden for them. But they wish to deprive the people of whatever little power becomes available to them. If you see the list of those involved in theft of power from State Electricity Boards, periodically published, the big fish are these companies and not individuals. Let us remember, they are not running the industries for the sake of nation, they are doing it for their own benefit at the PUBLIC expense.
They never pay attention to local environmental laws and cause so much pollution that after a few years the judiciary has to intervene. A slight attention by local authorities in the starting phases and their intervention from the very beginning would have prevented many hazards.
They enjoy the tax holidays for a number of years from all kinds of taxes. But when the time comes for paying taxes, they close the unit, make it ?sick? and start a new unit where the pastures are greener. The industries get sick, but the industrialists never get sick. They, their relatives, their friends and their caste men continue reaping the benefits in salaries, commissions, allowances, advances, stay in guest houses, perks, and other emoluments. Some times, it is so obvious that the unit was opened just to get government facilities and dupe the financial institutions. About ten years back thousands of such companies just ?vanished? after collecting huge amounts from public.
They want to Shift, so why not?
Times of India reported on 11th June 2004 that many companies might shift their factories out of Maharashtra if the Government implemented 52% reservation for SC, ST, OBCs. It was no surprise, as the business community has always been reactionary and casteist and against the common man. They say it would "handicap the domestic firms" and "cripple the private sector". But they never elaborate to say how.
Merit My foot, said VTR
These meritorious competent industrial people should explain why the Club of hundred asked for protection. They may also clarify why the foreign law firms, foreign newspapers and also foreign Insurance companies were not allowed? Before nationalization of Banks, the officers were mostly Brahmins as the Marathas were included in Open category and hence were less in numbers. It is mentioned that their caliber was definitely low in comparison to Dalit candidates and they were much less competent than SC STs. As a matter of fact, a backward student getting same marks should be treated as having more merit because he secured these marks against great odds.
Indian industry remained not only conservative but casteist, as rightly observed by Kancha Illaiah, who has asked, why is it that Dalits, Tribals and OBCs could not, on their own, make it to executive positions in Indian industry in any significant number, even after 56 years of Independence. Actually, he should have said after 156 years (2004-1848) since Mahatma Phule opened the gates of education to all. Since independence, the brahminical governments always wished that the educational facilities be restricted to only the upper castes, and mention of so-called ?Independence? for Dalit Bahujan cause is irrelevant.
They say if reservations are introduced, competitiveness will suffer, as if they are very efficient and competitive now. This is a great insult to Dalit Bahujans, to question their merit, which has been amply proved for generations. It is proved in battlefields, in factories, in Railways, in Banks and everywhere, they are given opportunities. The workers in factories are doing good jobs. They are mostly SC, ST, OBCs etc. But these are not elevated to lower, middle or upper top management cadres. There only the upper castes are employed. As a mater of strategy, it should be made mandatory for the List of Employees to be published along with "Annual Report" to contain the category also.
To such people who want to question our merit, one may politely ask, what is their own merit. A Club of hundred had asked for protective measures from foreign companies. Even now in business parlance, the merit and efficiency means how skilful you are in avoiding taxes, finding loop holes in laws, bribing the law enforcing machinery, ?managing? the banks, financial institutions and government officers and finding ways of exploiting the labor. Every company of standing has a team of ?persuaders? with all resources, legal and not so legal, at their disposal, in the capital of the state and country for only getting their jobs done from the Government and Semi-Government offices.
Change the Company Law
The real changes are needed to be made in Company Law to stop exploitation. The experts among us should talk openly and let the ?Planning Commission? hear our arguments. Company Law has not seen many changes since the days of C. D. Deshmukh. Even the family law of Mitakshara needs to be replaced by Dayabhag as Dr. Ambedkar wanted but could not get through the Hindu Code.
Who abolished Gift Tax and Estate Duty, and why?
They are fighting for the ?credit? of abolishing the Gift Tax. Was it Chidambaram or Yashvant Sinha? Who ever it was, they did a great disservice to the nation. More disservice was the abolition of Estate Duty. That one Tax had the potential of bringing in some sort of equality, if properly implemented and rates kept high. The reduction of Corporate tax was also a move not in the best interests of the common man.
Training is just eyewash
Some talk is going on about FIRST providing educational facilities and THEN giving jobs to these SC, ST and OBCs. This is just eyewash. If there were a will, there would be a way. Why education, training and job can not go hand in hand? Ramvilas Paswan has reportedly asked for 33 percent allocation for the SC / ST / (?OBC) training for industry from the 'profits' (he said 'Capital' on TV but perhaps meant profit. The net profit -- after tax and depreciation -- is usually very meager compared to turn over) It seems CII has approved of the idea. I understand the Birlas allocated five percent of their profit for the Brahmin temples. So why not for Training? But education, Training, Apprenticeship and Jobs all can go on simultaneously.
Last year Indian Express had run a series of articles showing how the industrialists have duped the country by Non Performing Assets, an euphemistic term for bad debts, of banks to the tune of 115,000 crores of rupees. The figure now seems to have gone to 150,000 crores. Recently Global Trust Bank got into trouble. Some how the government managed to bail it out. But the culprit, same old notorious Ketan Parikh, was not seen to be punished. In any case, these people can not be sentenced to death. It is only the farmers who owe a few lakh of rupees who commit suicide. The industrialists, brokers and financial criminals, who borrow thousands of crores from banks do not ever die, only the farmers do.
The ?business class? of India is restricted to a group of a few castes, and all industries are monopolized by less than about 200 families. These reactionary and casteist forces among the generally endogamous business community do not want to employ meritorious and competent people from the 85% of the community comprising of the SC, ST, OBC and RM. They either want their own caste men or people from 15% of population. They think the merit lies in the caste. But these business community people, traditionally called the ?Vaishyas? and assigned the 3rd grade in the Brahminic order of society and listed among the ?paap-yoni? by the Bhagwat Gita, need not be blamed. They behave like this not because they are cruel or inhuman or enemies of Bahujans. It is because they are pious and religious people and believe in their religion and their religion teaches them to behave with caste discrimination. They are very religious people and in refusing the status of equality to the Bahujans they are following the tenets taught to them by their masters, the Brahmins.
Many feed sugar to the ants, open the ?paan-poyees? (water kiosks), build temples for the benefit of Brahmins, feed and shelter them and spend on their comforts, and run TV channels glorifying Brahmins and spreading ?blind faiths? as all these are supposed to be virtuous acts as per the preaching of their religion.
This is the land of reservations
Those who oppose the reservations on ?principle? do not seem to understand that there has always been reservations in India on the caste / varna basis. Even now the religious books, the so called ?dharma granthas? are full of such laws reserving different jobs to different castes. No Sankaracharyas or ?matha-dhipatis? or other responsible persons have as yet declared these books unauthentic or out of date. On the contrary, many dignitaries have declared that they wish to rule the country on the basis of these books. These things are well known to the Mul Nivasi Indians and need not be repeated here.
Will they take their industries to moon?
But the main question remains, if it comes to that, where would they take their industries? Is there any state or Union territory free of SC, ST or OBCs? It is not properly realized that the Maharashtra Government, if they want to implement the law, it is not an act of charity or benevolence or a sudden found love for Bahujans. It is because of the pressure of Bahujan awakening. And suppose after shifting their factories to new places, how are they going to ensure that in their respective new locations, the respective government would not bring the same or similar laws, sooner or later? This is just an attempt to play one state against the other and will not be successful, if Govt. is really serious about the move. As far as Bahujans of Maharashtra are concerned, it makes no difference, if the other state gets benefits of a shifted factory. That state also is a part of the same country and has got full right to get such benefits. In any case, if the new site is found lucrative, and if you do not go there, your competitor will go in this open market economy.
Governments have come down
Industry does have the ability to bring the government that suits it, in power. But this is true only to a certain extent. If the masses are awakened, not only the government coming in power could be unpleasant to the Industry, but also as a consumer the masses could play a great role in uplifting the selected industries from the country. If the masses, who are also the consumers, are enlightened enough to change the well-entrenched governments, as we saw happening before, they could as well ruin a particular firm or a concern if they set their mind to it. It is time that the industry should realize this and join in the Governments? efforts in a positive spirit. As Kancha Illaiah has rightly observed the Indian industrialists have always been leading caste-feudal lives of pomp and luxury and that is good neither for themselves nor for the nation. Sooner they realize this better for all concerned. If the verdict of 14th Lok Sabha, can not teach them any lesson, nothing will. If exorbitant reliance on the foreign capital investment does not bother the Industrialists that the control is likely to pass, slowly, gradually but definitely, to the aliens, then let us be clear that Mul Nivasi Bahujans will definitely prefer a foreign employer to a caste ridden Indian one.
Many people are appealing to the conscience of these Industrialists by quoting the example of American Industry. I doubt whether America could be a Role Model for India, but Japan could. So somebody could also remind them how Japanese Samurai surrendered their powers in the national interests, which led to overall growth of the Japanese nation. Such rhetoric makes absolutely no sense to the caste conscious Indian businessmen. They only know two things. One is their caste and other is money. They would be willing to implement the reservations only if there is more money in that. A spokes-person of Industrialists, in the TV interview, when asked whether they would consider reservation if any ?incentives? are given, promptly said, it could be considered if such a proposal is made.
So there lies the hitch, if the Government wishes to put into practice, they would first consider the incentives. Even then the idea put forward by Dr. Satinath Chaudhari to calculate the index of implementation of Reservations in Private industries, is a proper strategy for all.
Videocon is an exception
During all the prattle and babble about reservations, two people stood outstandingly prominent. One was Venugopal Dhoot, an Industrialist of Vediocon Industries and Union Minister for Chemicals, Fertilizers and Steel and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) President Ram Vilas Paswan. It is the need of the day that transgressing all party loyalties one needs to support Paswan in this venture and support Videocon boycotting all other competitive products.
Mayawati of Bahujan Samaj Party has declared open support to Reservations in ?Private? Industries. Even the CPI and the entire Left have supported the demand for the extension of reservation to the private sector and D. Raja appealed the Private sector representatives to come forward for a meaningful dialogue.
But as there has been opposition from the Industry stalwarts like Bajaj, Godrej and Chhabria, the Congress got cold feet and there has been no further action. As a result, the issue, not surprisingly, did not appear on Congress list of priorities during the budget session. Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi cautiously and rather avoidingly said more discussions are necessary. And now P.M. is again coming out with some new hope.
There have been protests not only from the industry but also from all quarters, from within the country and from abroad. There are some that wish to have some sort of ?understanding? so that there is no disharmony. I think this is the most dangerous talk. No major changes ever take place without ?disharmony?. If some one has to lose something, he is bound to fight. The country progresses only through the fights. That is the Law of Contradictions. Dr. Ambedkar obtained the reservations through a life long fight. Those who think that they can get the rights without any fight are living in a dreamland.
A second ?Mandal Agitation?
You could neither organize an effective demonstration or fruitful negotiations, nor organize boycott of products, without first mobilizing public opinion by extensive debate in papers and other media and mass meetings by various dignitaries mobilizing political leaders of all parties. This is good time for it because of forthcoming elections. We have to treat this as an important issue, transgressing all differences, on the same footing as namantar, Riddles and Mandal.
You stand feeble chance without the cooperation and participation of the OBCs, which must be solicited. If you are to get participation of OBCs, our Dalit 'chamachas' who are spewing venom against the OBCs, will have to be silenced. How to get the co-operation and participation of OBCs is a part of the problem, we have to face. Though Maharashtra Government Act includes OBCs, it is not clear whether the Central Government Act also includes them.
Get ready for a fight
The strategy has got to be multi pronged. It should comprise of (1) Negotiation (2) Boycott (3) Pressure on Governments (4) Incentives to Industries and (5) OBC participation. It is rather difficult to say what course the agitation takes. There are already hostile reactions from all the conceivable Brahminical quarters. But if all Dalit Bahujan forces transgressing their party loyalties support, it is bound to succeed. After all, this is nothing but a second Mandal Agitation. And to counter that RSS is already preparing for second ?kamandal ratha yatra?.
Where is our share?
Late Waman Dada Kardak had long time back asked to ?Tata and Bata?, ?aamcha vaata kutha hai vo?" (where is our share?) Dalit Bahujans are now only asking for their share, in managerial jobs in the industry. But tomorrow they will ask for share in ownership in the industry. To quote and modify an old song,Jab hum Mul Nivasi jagenge!
Ek Gaon nahi, Ek Desh nahi!!
Hum sari Duniya Mangege!!!