Issues bigger than reservation
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s call for a review of the reservation policy is reflective of the apprehensions in the political establishment about the demand for reservation cropping up from dominant groups. Bhagwat referred to interest groups that make demands at the cost of others’ aspirations, a clear reference to the Hardik Patel-led agitation. But his argument—that reservation is being used for political ends and there is a need to review who gets quotas and for how long—is something that Indian politics cannot refrain from addressing any longer. The OBC categorisation was necessitated by the realisation that there were many socially and educationally backward groups, besides Dalits and Adivasis, who were finding it difficult to access jobs in the face of upper caste hegemony. But the logic of electoral politics has vitiated a noble idea. Using political heft, many undeserving groups have found their way into the OBC category. Conversely, political parties have bent over backwards to propitiate dominant communities by granting them OBC status. A review of the reservation policy, despite being advocated by the Supreme Court, has never been carried out. With OBC reservation demands fomenting social tensions and yielding fewer returns for the most deprived backward sections, it is time for politics to be delinked completely from reservations. Decisions on reservations and their continuance should be left entirely to statutory bodies like the National Commission for Backward Classes. Taking this route will also shield the state from unacceptable demands, of the kind being made by Hardik Patel, and also force the so-called backward class messiahs to focus on developmental issues bigger than reservation.
The call drop headache
This refers to news reports “Call drop issue to get resolved in a month’s time, says Prasad” and “Call drop: Telcos flunk DoT test” (FE, September 18). Although this “hope raising” statement by Ravi Shankar Prasad must be taken with all seriousness as both of its key agencies—the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT)—are in a proactive mode and are involved in unrelenting engagements with telecom operators to solve the call drop issue, but the situation on ground zero speaks otherwise. Ironically, while Trai has set the prescribed benchmark limit of call drops at 2%, DoT has increased the same from 2% to 3%. It seems to be the case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. In any case, the service providers’ wise audit detail relating to their respective bad cell sites provided in the report they shared recently speaks volumes about the sorry state of their operational affairs and also the problems they have been facing in putting up telecom towers. However, the moot question is, when will the call drop issue be finally resolved?
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