Monday, 17 December 2012

WSP Proposes the Pro-Poor, Class Based New Reservation Policy and Calls for Mass Opposition to the Existing Pro-Rich, Caste Based Policy

WSP/ 17 December 2012

Inauguration of the rule of the weakling Indian bourgeoisie in August 1947 on the reactionary foundations of a compromise between the British and Indian capitalists, appeared at the height of betrayals and suppression of the anti-colonial movement, the communal partition of the Indian sub-continent and the tragic mayhem that claimed two million toll, alongside mass rapes, arsons, loots and innumerable sufferings. The failed states that emerged out of this rule on both sides of the border could not resolve any of the impeding democratic tasks. Elimination of caste based social injustice, apartheid, backwardness and inequality is one among such pressing tasks.

The post 47' development of capitalism, has further complicated the left-over issues from caste apartheid to national liberation. Division of castes into classes, the carving out of creamy layers of elites among the most backward castes, has added new complexity to the old tangles. 

Indian ruling bourgeoisie failed to smash or even dislocate the old medieval foundations inherited from its colonial masters. It instead adapted them to itself, firstly through crude military subjugation and secondly through petty reforms to make capitalist inroads inside the old structures and to pacify the social conflicts.

Caste based Quota reservation is one such tool that the ruling bourgeoisie has resorted to, as formal affirmative action to bind the millions of poor and deprived to its state through the elite layers carved out from inside the backward communities.           

With more and more fragmentation of castes into classes, it is these elite, creamy layers that have gobbled all benefits of reservation for themselves, depriving the poor mass even of crumbs.  
This caste-based reservation policy has only assisted to cover-up the filling of the coffers of elite creamy layers, that have successfully cornered all benefits of ‘reservation’ since 1950s, leaving the poor mass of working and toiling people in the lurch. With this gobbling of all fruits of the reservation by rich and elites, its whole edifice is reduced to sheer absurdity.

The project for affirmative action of quota and reservation, that was proclaimed to be built upon foundations of ‘social and educational backwardness’ prevalent among certain sections of society, has since turned out to be a self-serving tool, a playground for rich and powerful, depriving the great mass of workers, toilers and poor, who badly needed it. Not only Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe quota, but even the ‘quota’ that was clearly meant for Other Backward ‘Classes’ (OBCs) is diverted to the same obsolete channels of 'caste', by the government of the rich, to reserve and preserve all benefits for their class- the class of elites and privileged- the class of Mayawatis and Paswans!

This reactionary policy of reservation is 'communal' in nature, as it restricts benefits of SC-ST quota to Hindu community only, that alone is home to caste divisions, and by implication, excludes Muslims, Christians, Parsis and others. 

This policy is based upon generalisations and ignores concrete social realities. It ignores the huge social and educational gap between poor and rich sections of target castes and forces the poor to compete with the rich.

Poor sections of Dalits, Tribals and backwards can be the beneficiary of reservation, only if the existing, bogus and pro-elite reservation policy, is substituted by the ‘New Reservation Policy’ proposed by the Workers’ Socialist Party.

The New Reservation Policy 
The ‘New Reservation Policy’, proposed by the Workers’ Socialist Party (WSP), is the policy based upon identification of ‘socially and educationally’ backward classes.

The ‘classes’, that are actually ‘socially and educationally’ backward, are easily identifiable, on the basis of their occupation and source of livelihood and without discrimination of caste, e.g. rickshaw pullers.

Classes that really suffer social and educational backwardness, are poorest of the poor in society and thus deserve to reap the benefits of affirmative action. As against the ‘castes’ which stand fragmented between  rich and poor,  these social classes have more homogenous composition in their character and similar living conditions among their members.

At the outset, WSP proposes to consolidate all reservation of SC, ST and OBC into one composite ‘quota’ for backward classes, identified on the basis of one’s occupation, i.e. source of livelihood.

This new policy, would thus, transcend the formula evolved by Supreme Court subsequently, to exclude the creamy layer from OBC quota. We know how this formula has been subverted at ease by the rich and powerful through rampant faking of requisite certificates, depriving the deserving poor therefrom.

The new policy proposes reservation to all 'socially and educationally backward classes' irrespective of their religious or other identities. So it is secular in nature.

While old policy makes reservation meaningless for poor sections as they are pushed in unequal competition with rich sections, the new policy is based upon the presumption that the elites have already transcended social and educational backwardness and thus be excluded.

In opposition to the old ‘caste’ based identification, the WSP thus proposes new ‘class’ based identification on the basis of ‘social and educational backwardness’ of the occupational classes.

For application of the above criteria, WSP proposes an inclusive list of following classes:

1.  All Workers in factories, mines, foundaries, shellers, docks, farms, etc.
2.  Transport Workers, on Lorries, buses, Railways, metro trains, etc.
3.  Coolies at railway stations
4.  Workers engaged in construction
5.  Auto and taxi drivers
6.  Rickshaw pullers
7.  Tonga drivers
8.  Fishermen, Shepherds, carpenters and iron-smiths
9.  Guards/ chowkidars
10. Employees in Class IV category in all concerns
11. Cobblers, barbers, weavers, washermen, potters, etc.
12. Street vendors
13. Pavement dwellers
14. Sweepers
15. Rag pickers
16. Shop employees
17. Domestic servants
18. Slum dwellers
and so on and so forth......

Some Clarifications
Q. What are the stark features of the proposed "new reservation policy"?
A. The 'new reservation policy' in the first instance is a secular policy, which extends benefit to all communities and sections without discrimination on the basis of their social and educational backwardness. Present reservation policy is communal, as it extends benefits in SC-ST quota, only to hindu castes and excludes other religious communities. Secondly, the new policy excludes the rich and elite sections from its purview, making reservation meaningful for the really backwards.

Q. Why are we opposing the caste based reservation?
A. Castes, are no longer homogenous social formations. In the last six decades creamy layers of the rich and elite have emerged in all castes, and they stand divided between classes of a few rich and the poor mass. Inside these castes, these handful of rich and powerful have used reservation to corner the power and wealth, depriving the mass of workers and toilers. So we oppose the old basis of caste, as criterion for reservation.

Q. So how does the ‘new reservation policy’ propose concrete criteria for reservation?
A. The New Reservation Policy proposes that those who have born and brought up as progenies of parents in any of the backward classes mentioned above, must get benefit of reservation.

Q. In what relation the new reservation policy stands to the present one?
A. The new policy simply turns the existing policy, upside down.
The present policy takes ‘caste’ as its point of departure, to return to class through supposed exclusion of affluent class by extricating the creamy layer. The new policy, starts from the class and then comes to the question of caste, thereby excluding the elites by default at the threshold.
Q. What are the exact areas for application of the new reservation policy?
A. New Reservation policy must have the largest possible amplitude, from admissions in educational institutes to jobs in public and private sectors, housing allotments etc. In addition, these classes must be given free/concessional access to health services, education, transport, electricity, rations etc.  

Q. Does not this policy divert the reservation meant for scheduled castes and tribes?
A. No, it does not. On the contrary, poor sections of scheduled castes and Tribes would be immensely benefited by it. Today all reserved quota is being cornered by progenies of rich and elites through fake certificates of caste and creamy layers. New policy makes it impossible. Further, as can be seen from the list of classes, majority of the classes proposed by us are constituted by those belonging to SC, STs, like sweepers, rickshaw pullers etc. So only rich and elite will be excluded, while working and toiling mass would be biggest beneficiary of the new policy.
This new policy would be a new platform for unity and harmony between the workers and toilers of all castes and tribes and the poorest of them will be the real beneficiaries as against the affluent layers within castes.

Q. How the present three quotas of SC, ST and OBC be applied through the new reservation policy?
A. The new reservation policy proposes to merge the three quota into one reserved quota. This quota would be applied first to ‘backward classes’ that include in turn the occupational classes, listed above, and then SC-ST would find preference inside it.

Q. How does the new policy deal with the question of ‘creamy layer’?
A. The old policy starts from caste, taking it as criteria in first instance, which includes rich and poor sections, and subsequently excludes its upper crust through exclusion of creamy layer.
In contrast, the new policy starts from the ‘class’ identified on the basis of its social and educational backwardness, and thus excludes creamy layers at the outset, by implication. Hence, no need to exclude creamy layers, expressly.
This ‘creamy layer’ criteria is purely ‘economic’ in nature and is thus an anomaly, as the whole scheme of quota law does not permit classification on economic basis.
However, this artificial and fallacious measure has proved a device in the hands of elites to defeat the law by generating fake certificates to escape the axe of ‘creamy layer’.

Q. Is not the new reservation policy disastrous for social equilibrium giving rise to ever new conflict in society?
A. In the first instance, we must point out, that the present policy itself is the basis of a futile reactionary conflict among the castes. The new policy overcomes this reactionary conflict, removing the caste shell, while preserving the fruit for the majority of workers and toilers belonging to the scheduled castes and tribes.
The new policy, proposed by us, no doubt, would give rise to a new revolutionary conflict between the classes, as elites would try to preserve the privileges they have monopolised till now.  We have no doubt that all of the political parties and governments of the rich elites would side with them and would resist the ‘new reservation policy’.

Q. If elites, their parties and governments would oppose this new policy, then where is the possibility of its implementation?
A. A mass movement of multi-millions of working and toiling people, who are prospective and real beneficiaries of this new policy proposed by us, may bring the whole regime to its knees in no time. Rich elites and their governments have no real power to resist this new policy, if it is backed by mass of workers and toilers of all castes and tribes.

Q. What is the guarantee that elites and powerful would not torpedo this ‘new policy’ through faking certificates and corner the benefits under it?
A. It would be hundred times difficult, almost impossible, for a shopkeeper to fake as a sweeper or rickshaw-puller and this makes this policy immune from the faking through false certificates, by which present policy is marred.

Q. Is the criteria based on ‘economic class’, acceptable?
A. You can see that new reservation policy takes social and educational backwardness, and not economic backwardness, as its point of departure. The classes we have specified in the list, are the socially and educationally backward classes and not essentially economically backward.
The concept of OBC, i.e. Other Backward Classes, is based upon concept of class, and not caste. It is wrongly pushed into the channels of caste, to preserve the privileges and dominance of upper crusts inside the castes.


  1. Extremely well analysed. If implemented, this could foment a revolution in the politics of reservation and put an end to all the ills of the system.

    Ess See.

  2. Rural labourers like tillers, share croppers,shepherds, domestic house workers, un organised agriculture labourers, vehicle drivers and so like a lot of profession can be listed as backward deprived classes in the present society.

  3. Who will identify and how ... in contract base owner'son can be shown as a labour worker ... every one can show they are bus driver it is not possible bro .... it can be done other way if any family got one person working class one shouldn't be considered or class two three four workers already got benefits from reservation shouldn't be considered ckass three and four need to be kept as it as...