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The Gagan Pratap Controversy | A Debate on Reservation Policies in India

The Gagan Pratap controversy has highlighted the deep divisions in opinions about the reservation policy in India. While some view it as a necessary tool for social justice and uplifting marginalized communities, others see it as a form of reverse discrimination that hampers meritocracy and development.

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Aashish Verma

7/4/20242 min read

The Gagan Pratap Controversy

Gagan Pratap, a popular online educator with over 700,000 followers, recently sparked a major controversy with his comments on the policy of reservation in India. Pratap, who teaches mathematics, tweeted that in the future, reserved category candidates like SC (Scheduled Castes) and ST (Scheduled Tribes) wouldn't even need to appear for exams to be selected. He added that OBC (Other Backward Classes) candidates would only need to answer a few questions, while those from the general category would have to answer all of them. This tweet led to a storm of reactions on social media, with over 200,000 tweets either supporting or opposing his views.

The Tweet and Its Aftermath

The tweet by Gagan Pratap was soon deleted, but not before it had ignited a heated debate. Many people criticized him for undermining the reservation policy, which aims to uplift historically marginalized communities. Others supported his views, arguing that the current system is unfair to the general category.

Criticism of Reservation Policy

Critics of the reservation policy argue that it gives undue advantage to certain classes. Some of their main points include:

  • - Fee Deductions and Relaxed Criteria: Reserved category candidates receive significant fee reductions and have easier eligibility criteria.

  • - Lower Score Requirements: They often need to score substantially less than general category students to secure jobs or admission to educational institutions.

  • - Impact on Administrative Function: Critics claim that reservation leads to unqualified candidates getting jobs, which hampers administrative efficiency.

  • - Benefit to Financially Stable Members: The policy mostly benefits financially stable members of socially backward sections, leaving the truly needy without support.

  • - Strengthening the Caste System: Instead of dismantling the caste system, reservation policies are said to reinforce it and serve political objectives.

  • - Discrimination and Right to Equality: Reservation is seen as a form of discrimination against other groups, conflicting with the right to equality in the Indian Constitution.

  • - Negative Impact on Growth: There are concerns that reservation hampers India's educational and economic growth by not guaranteeing the effectiveness of those selected through quotas.

  • - Education and Productivity: Critics believe that reservation policies lower the standards of education and employee productivity.

  • - Economic Disparities: Both economically prosperous and disadvantaged segments within lower and backward castes benefit equally, which some see as unfair.

  • - Social Unrest: Perceived discrimination and social unrest can arise from reservation-based quotas.

Support for Reservation Policy

On the other hand, supporters of the reservation policy argue that it has helped uplift marginalized communities. Some of their key points include:

  • - Improved Representation: Reservations have helped tribal communities improve their representation in state-run educational institutions and services.

  • - Support for OBCs: OBC reservations have aided those excluded from SCs and STs but still lacking resources and education.

  • - EWS Benefits: Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) reservations have benefited socially advanced but economically poorer segments of society.

  • - Social and Economic Upliftment: Affirmative action and reservations have benefited a significant portion of India's underprivileged and underrepresented population.

  • - Addressing Historical Injustice: Reservations help address past neglect and injustice against socially underprivileged groups by reducing the challenges they face due to lack of resources.

  • - Provision of Justice: The reservation system has improved access to justice by providing free legal aid to SC, ST, and female members who lack resources, information, and awareness.

  • - Access to Resources: Reservations benefit socially and educationally underprivileged groups who lack access to resources like money and knowledge, helping them integrate into society.

The Gagan Pratap controversy has highlighted the deep divisions in opinions about the reservation policy in India. While some view it as a necessary tool for social justice and uplifting marginalized communities, others see it as a form of reverse discrimination that hampers meritocracy and development. The debate continues, reflecting the complexity and sensitivity of the issue in Indian society.