Whats government for Gurjjars?
dilipdeka at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 4 22:55:58 EDT 2007
All this is only for money. Isn't it? The article describes why the demand rises for quota in public sector jobs.
If the Meenas get it, why shouldn't the Gujjars? Right? If the Bodos can get it, why not the Koch-Rajbangshis?
It is about time India did away with the reservation system based on caste, tribe and backwardness (it is well beyond the original 10 years) and started something new like government doe-out based on economic status of the citizens. The system would be more equitable that way. The voting practices in India also will change drastically for the better.
Whats government for Gurjjars?
Laveesh Bhandari Posted online: Tuesday, June 05, 2007 at 0000 hrs At markets lower end, public sector jobs are prized. To stop caste fights redefine eligibility
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Gurjjars are now demanding a greater share of the public sector employment pie. This community is not the first in asking for either a greater share or a better categorisation. And with the Rajasthan chief minister convincing them to call off the stir, one can be certain that the Gurjjars will not be the last in making these demands. Some communities such as the Meenas may have made good use of the opportunities that came their way via reservation, but many others are yet to do so. Either way, this is the start of an interesting socio-political churn. The beneficiaries will attempt at ensuring that such benefits continue and the non-beneficiaries will try to ensure that they also hop onto the bandwagon. If the two groups are competitors, then each may also try to prevent the other from benefiting. But why does this happen? In this era of rapid growth and ever-increasing employment opportunities, why should anyone want to battle it out to get a government job?
The answer is surprisingly quite unambiguous. Monetary and non-monetary benefits received from government jobs are far higher than those received by private sector employees in a range of occupations. And this difference is so large that it is well worth the effort of fighting street battles for preferential treatment. Of course, not all government or public sector jobs pay more than similar private sector jobs. Take, for instance, the CEOs of SBI and Citibank. The former earns much less. And therefore rarely will you see senior managers or bureaucrats fighting for reservations. But the lifetime benefits earned at the middle and lower levels in the hierarchy are far higher in the government than those earned in the private sector. This writer was part of a team that recently conducted a survey of 7500 respondents on a range of issues related to their expectation from the Indian state for a study by the National Foundation of India. The respondents were located in rural
and urban areas, belonged to all economic and social groups, from states spread over northern, southern, eastern and western parts of the country. In short, a highly representative coverage of Indians was included. I take the liberty of using some of that primary data. The first and most unsurprising response was related to overall preference for a government job. Eighty-eight per cent of the respondents stated that they would prefer a lower paying job with certainty of tenure rather than a higher paying job with uncertainties. But it is not that government jobs are preferred only on that count. Government jobs are preferred on a range of criteria: post-retirement benefits (97 per cent), job security (97 per cent), health care benefits (81 per cent), conducive working hours (83 per cent), and higher incomes (58 per cent). Moreover, even in the non-tangibles many consider government jobs to be better: greater job satisfaction (89 per cent), and more respectable (92 per
cent). Almost 97 per cent of the respondents preferred a government job to a private one. The survey had many other queries on health care, education, housing, nutrition, etc, and the role of the state. On no other issue did we see such strong agreement among the respondents. Needless to say, government jobs have many benefits. The first set consists of those that are quite explicit and include the kind of issues that respondents were queried about health care, pensions, incomes, uncertainties. The second set of benefits is more in the tacit nature the chaiwala who will not charge the policeman, the side payment for the permission granted, the diwali gift, etc. And the third group is of a more derivative nature the respect and power derived from being the representative of the state. The long-term solution therefore is also quite simple. Ensure that either the difference between public and private sector jobs emoluments reduces, or ensure that beneficiary
criteria are different. There are some ways of doing this. The first is to not increase public sector salaries until private sector pay catches up. However, this model will not work, because it may lead to a high divergence between the private and public sectors at the higher hierarchical levels. The second is to create conditions whereby the private sector salary structure rises up to that in the government. However, the large numbers entering the workforce create a natural barrier for rapid wage increases at the lower hierarchical levels. Perhaps that is why average wages of production workers have not increased in recent years. In other words, both these options are politically unsustainable. Imaginative governments have found a third way. They have merely re-categorised some public sector jobs. Temporary teachers, for instance, are today being hired by the public sector school system, whose salary levels are at par with, if not lower than, private school teachers.
There is also a fourth way. Rather than play around with relative salary structure of government jobs, or re-categorise the position as temporary, we could merely re-categorise eligibility. That is, let the jobs be reserved for those who are economically underprivileged. There can then be no caste-based disagreements on the reservation front. The same survey also queried respondents on what they perceived to be the best criteria for reservation. About 31 per cent stated a preference for reservations to be on the basis of economic status only; an even lower proportion of 8 per cent had a preference for it being on the basis of social status only; and almost 61 per cent preferred reservation to be on the basis of some combination of caste and economic criteria. Moreover, this response pattern is the same across various groupings such as ST, SC, OBCs and forward castes. The bulk of Indians (about 91 per cent) would like economic criteria to be used as a basis for
reservations, either individually or in combination with some social status criteria. Whichever way we see it, we will eventually have to shift away from the purely caste based reservation criteria. They promote the wrong sort of competition, rewards the wrong set of individuals, punishes those who deserve better, and overall sets up an incentive mechanism where youth will deem fit to fight it out for achieving the underprivileged caste status. Either that, or reduce the benefits of government jobs.
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