Why quota to help the downtrodden?

No issue in the history of independent India has threatened to divide society as sharply as the one concerning the reservation for government jobs and admission to educational institutions. No sane person can say that concessions should not be given to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the other backward castes (OBCs) which have suffered discrimination throughout recorded history. But, at the same time, care should be taken to see that the measures adopted for giving them benefits are drafted in a manner that the rights of the other castes remain unaffected, at least beyond a certain point.

This is a sensitive matter and need to be handled with utmost care and by the most balanced minds known for their unquestionable integrity. This is an arrangement for a noble cause of giving the feeling of belonging to the downtrodden.

Alas, what has happened after Independence has shattered the hopes of all those who were seeking social justice in true sense. The idea of allowing reservations was to give a chance to the downtrodden to catch up with the others in the race for progress. But later on, this became a tool for garnering votes in the hands of short-sighted politicians.

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Now, the system of reservations need to be modified by consensus. The thrust should be on giving free education up to the plus two level and scholarships to meritorious students coming from downtrodden families. But there should no reservation in professional courses, or else merit would be the casualty.

Economic status, instead of caste, should be the basis for providing reservations, because money, not caste, mainly determines the status in today’s society.

ARVIND DHUMAL, Advocate, Jalandhar


We are not against the uplift of the people of the weaker sections. But reservation should not be on the caste and creed basis. Reservation must be given on the basis of economic backwardness.

We had seen the situation after the Mandal Commission report’s implementation. The same thing is again going to happen if the situation is not controlled soon.



The whole issue of reservations is based on the assumption that the OBC and other reserved category students do not have the same calibre as those belonging to the general category have. This may be true to a large extent. The admission of such students to professional courses is being done at the cost of general category students. This will result in the slowing down of the learning speed of all students.

The solution lies not in reserving seats for mediocre students in the institutions of higher learning, but in opening institutions exclusively for such students where they can be taught at their learning speed.

Also, the course length may be longer in such institutions so that at the end of their studies they can compete with the other regular students. If there can be reserved parliamentary constituencies, why can there not be reserved institutions of higher learning?

Dr B.S. GILL, Chandigarh

Dealing in blood

A programme on blood telecast by NDTV on May 14 was an eye-opener. Even eight years after the Supreme Court directive banning commercial and professional dealings in blood, the racket continues in metropolitan cities in India. The interview with a tout in Delhi clearly demonstrated how patients have to shell out Rs 2000 to get one unit of blood and that, too, of doubtful, if not risky, quality because it is obtained from people who make a profession of selling their blood.

It appears that this life-threatening practice is prevalent even in the hospitals of national repute. When the Government of India, the National AIDS Control Society, the WHO and the International Society of Blood Transfusion have repeatedly criticised the commercial blood banks and professional blood sellers, why is this menace being allowed to continue in India? Particularly right under the nose of the authorities, which are urging blood banks not to accept blood even from replacement donors because blood sellers are often passed off as relatives of patients.

The Indian Society of Blood Transfusion and Immunohaematology in a resolution adopted in 1972 set an eight- year limit to switch over to a 100 per cent voluntary donor system. Even after a lapse of 34 years we are nowhere near that target.

Chandigarh has taken the lead in demonstrating that blood sellers can be eliminated completely when a 100 per cent voluntary blood donor system is established through adequate motivational measures. The Blood Bank Society, set up in 1964, has earned the nation-wide reputation for being an effective tool for donor motivation. The latest project of the society is a no-profit Blood Centre established in partnership with the Rotary, which provides fully tested blood taken only from voluntary donors as even replacement donors are not accepted there.

Mrs SAROOP KRISHAN, Honorary Secretary, Blood Bank Society, Chandigarh

Road Ravanas

This refers to the news-item “Fast food joints flout Motor Vehicle Act” carried in The Sunday Tribune of May 14. The illegal modification of scooters by fitting “heat entrapping” boxes for carrying steaming hot food by the food joints is condemnable. No doubt, this poses a serious threat to the lives of the people in general and road users in particular.

There is a more serious threat to public safety. It is common sight to find the milk can-laden motorcycles driven by milk vendors, particularly during mornings and evenings. It reminds one of Ravana, the demon. That too with the tail on fire as they zoom past to reach to their customers’ doorsteps. Selling milk for profit is also a commercial activity. These milk vendors flout the Motor Vehicles Act with the same impunity as those driving food joints’ scooters.

Col I. J.S. CHEEMA (retd), Chandigarh


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