Reservation demands: RSTV The Big Picuture

Demands for Reservation have often led to violent clashes between agitators and police forces. The many social groups that claim reservations have a myriad of reasons to do so. This episode on RSTV will elaborate upon the issue along with possible solutions. Candidates can watch the full episode towards the end of the article.

Also, the details from this article will be useful for the IAS Exam.


  • In 2014 Jats were given reservation in education and employment in Harayana govt and the Union govt within the OBC quota
  • Supreme court and Chandigarh High court quashed their reservation
  • Other communities-Patels of Gujarat, Kapus of Andhra Pradesh, Jats of UP, Marathas of Maharashtra are getting restless
  • Incidentally, all these are farming communities

What does History say?

Proponents view:

  • All social groups-Jats, Gujjars Ahirs, Kurmis, Sainis- were all at par, then came the Rajputs and then the Brahmans.
  • Initially, jats should have been given reservation under the Mandal Commission report because of social order
  • Economically too, if we consider land holding, per capita land availability of Jats in UP and Harayana is lesser than Gujjars
  • No commission has given a favourable recommendation about this. No ground survey has been done

Critics view:

  • Mandal Commission report puts jats in the forward caste category
  • In 1997, again there was a demand from Jats. The survey was done by National Backward class Commission which said, only in Rajasthan (except Bharatpur and Dholpur). Hence demand rejected
  • In 2010 again a survey was carried out and again was rejected
  • In 2014, National Backward class Commission, again a survey was carried out and again rejected
  • C Gupta Commission findings, based on which reservation was given in 2014 were reported to be false as adjudged by the Supreme court
  • Court also said, it is social backwardness which should be the deciding factor, which cannot be proved for the Jats

What are the legal issues:

  • Reservations cannot exceed 50pc as adjudged by the Supreme Court in the earlier judgement
  • This reservation will be within the ambit of 27pc reservation for OBC’s

Economic Criteria v/s Social Backwardness

  • Social backwardness is more entrenched and more perpetual across generations
  • Economic position can change within a shorter duration
  • Constitution does not provide for economic criteria as a ground for reservation

Why there is a demand for the reservation from communities that otherwise did not demand reservation a decade or two ago?

  • Combination of mandalization in politics and liberalization in the economy
  • The poorer segments of forwarding caste and politically dominant caste are demanding it
  • They are socially confident that the State will bend to their will and they will suffer no social costs by taking this route. They can prevent others from treating them as socially inferior
  • It discredits reservation and defeats the purpose of reservation
  • To become a modern nation, we were required to have the inclusion of groups excluded by custom and also caste
  • Therefore it started with Poona Pact of 1932 and included into GoI 1935
  • However, there is very little economic mobility due to a new pattern of development
  • Aspiration versus reality gap has hit them sharply
  • Left behind groups of dominant caste- not having enough jobs. Therefore, using reservation as an easy way out

For instance Patels:

  • Fragmentation of land holdings
  • Gujarat is an only large state with a high manufacturing base, but no high-quality jobs produced compared to other cities like Noida, Bangalore etc
  • They are at the periphery of the economic boom in Gujarat
  • “High tech jobless growth in India”- eminent economist and former P.M, Dr Manmohan Singh
  • The organised sector provides only 8% to 9% of jobs in India

However, the supreme court has observed that,

  • Caste, although a historical issue, history alone cannot be the criteria
  • There are several other communities which do not even have land holdings
  • Comparison cannot be a ground for backwardness- criticizing the point that jats are like Gujjars and Ahirs etc


  • The jats may monopolise the OBC quota as they are dominant caste and eat into the opportunities of other OBC’s
  • Now the crucial aspect is the job creation by the govt.
  • Need to look beyond the reservation
  • Relative economic backwardness is different from exclusion like that of Dalits and Adivasis
  • For exclusion, forced inclusion, through reservation is the only way out
  • For relative economic backwardness, there has to be a combination of solutions

Probable Mains Questions:

  • Does India need to revisit the reservation policy? Why? Support your arguments with suitable examples and give solutions to the issues
  • Debate the issue of whether and how contemporary movements for the assertion of Dalit identity work towards annihilation of caste. (Mains 2015 GS-Paper 1)

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UPSC Monthly Magazine NCERT Notes for UPSC IAS Toppers


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