While fighting for the cause of Schedule Castes (SC) and Schedule Tribes (ST), labourers and women, Dr Ambedkar envisioned a society where human dignity of each and every one could be assured and he stated that “Ours is a struggle not for money or power but for reclamation of human dignity”. In order to meet this stated objective, government introduced reservations for SC and ST candidates in public jobs and admission in public educational institution. But, how far this instrument of reservation succeeded in achieving the main objective of Dr Ambedkar is a question mark.
As per 2011 census, population of Schedule Caste (SC) and Schedule Tribe (ST) in India is 16.2 and 8.2 percent respectively of total population. About 31 Lakhs central government employees are there. Similarly in state governments about 1 Crore employees are there. Thus, total number of state and central government employees is about 1 percent of total population of India. Therefore, about 25 percent SC and ST population is banking on government jobs reserved for SC/ST that can only serve about 1 percent of SC/ST population for their economic and social development and upliftment. Even after over half a century of implementation of reservation scheme, it has not yielded any tangible result.
The other flaw in reservation is that those SC and ST families who have got benefits of reservation once or more, they are still continue to get it at the cost of other SC and ST families who could never get the same due to their poor economic status. Moreover, some of the economically well off and undeserving caste and community have intruded in SC and ST categories reaping this benefits at the cost of poor deserving SC and ST families. Therefore, this policy of reservation is flawed, and if really the vision of Dr Ambedkar is to be fulfilled then theie capability needs to be developed..
Policy of reservation has created inefficiency in government jobs and social divide. Some of the political parties have heavily en-cashed this social divide and converted it into solid vote bank for their political gain. But, this has not improved the social and economic status of larger population of SC and ST.
People are asset of a country, and to get maximum out of them is to invest in them at initial level itself. Therefore, a compulsory and free primary education is must for all SC/ST children. Though it should not be limited to only SC/ST children, but it should be extended to all the children of every caste and community. Those SC/ST students who complete primary education must be offered free middle education up to 8th standard. When it comes to free education, it should bear all the cost such as minimum three meals a day, clothing, hostels, health services, free books and other items. If all their needs are met, they will not be dragged to their families for economic activities at the cost of their education.. For further higher studies, deserving candidates may be given liberal scholarship at every stage. It was education that shaped the life of Dr Ambedkar making him a iconic person. Therefore, if dreams of Dr Ambedkar are to be fulfilled, then access to education is way forward and not reservation