As a practitioner and student of public policy for the last four years, I have been pleasantly surprised at the outrage expressed in the reservations issue. Maybe I have become un-necessarily skeptical. The Supreme Court has intervened and ordered the government to table the facts related to the proposed increase of OBC reservations.
A vacation bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice L S Panta ordered the Union of India to answer to three crucial questions:
1. What is the basis of the norms for fixing the OBC category?
2. What is the rational behind fixing it?
3. If the proposed reservation is implemented, what are the modalities and the basis for modalities?
Read Increase in quota will divide nation: SC for the full story.
Hopefully, the debate will now be centred on facts and not opinions. This demand of data is a pleasant development. For bills that have been proposed earlier there seldom has been a popular demand for data (like the earlier Free and Compulsory Education Bill). This is a step forward for policy-making in India if policies are framed in terms of hard data. It would be better if the government gave it to independent think-tanks or research bodies (public or private) to develop the report. The more independent reports out there, the more the quality of debate will be enhanced. If the government constitutes its own review committee, I worry about the facts and their interpretation. But maybe I am again being skeptical!
Hat tip: Reality Check India