May 31, 2006

Incorrect, then correct

Two stray thoughts.

1) It is incorrect to say "OBCs need reservations because OBCs are oppressed and poor." (It is incorrect because all OBCs are not oppressed and poor). Right?

Then is it incorrect to say "OBCs don't need reservations because they are all wealthy landowners by now"? Or "OBCs don't need reservations because they are the oppressors of Dalits"? Or "OBCs don't need reservations because they were never themselves oppressed"? Or "OBCs don't need reservations because the children of Lalu and Mulayam grab most of the benefits"?

Are all OBCs wealthy landowners? Are they all oppressors of Dalits? Were none of them ever oppressed? Are all of them children of Lalu and Mulayam?

***

2) It is correct to say "Reservations dilute merit." Right?

Then is it correct to say "Capitation fees dilute merit"? And "NRI quotas dilute merit"? And "Age limits dilute merit"? And "Preferences for in-state students dilute merit"? And "Restricting admission to Indians dilutes merit"?

Which dilutions of merit are acceptable and why?

29 comments:

Abi said...

Add two more?

Does the AIIMS quota for PG courses in, er, AIIMS dilute merit?

How about sports quota?

TTG said...

NRIs are not admitted with lower grades.

Capitation fees are paid because of the stupid structure of the education system, and are given in lieu of a student's academic score.
Two students, both with 99%, one gives capitation, the other does not. The one giving capitation gets in.

Have academic standards dropped? No. But this practise is discriminatory against poor students. So you know how you solve that? You give the poor students a scholarship for college. You don't relax the admission criteria.

Age limits may or may not dilute merit. They possibly do.

Preferences for in-state students simply means that if there are two students with equal grades, the in-state student gets preference. They don't lower the standards for in-state students. And even if there is a difference in admissions criteria, it's not 60% for one bunch, and 90% for the rest.

Thus spake a "foul-mouthed youngster", lol.

barbarindian said...

Your basic assumption that a poor student deserves a seat more is incorrect. Do you deserve to live in a posh apartment in New Delhi? Does your daughter deserve to go to a good school? Do you deserve to be a member of a posh tennis club?

While you chew on this, also answer these:

1. Does a Dalit IAS officer's kid deserve a seat over a poor Brahmin clerk's kid in IIT despite scoring less than half the latter's marks?

2. Why do over 80% of the OBC seats in TN and elsewhere are going to very affluent families?

3. Do you really know how Affirmative Action is implemented in The US?

abhaya said...

Dilip,

You have all the right reasons and still what you conclude is wrong. How ironic.

1) As you can see, both the ways are incorrect and hence the basis for making those statements, the caste, the OBC criteria are wrong. Change the basis to economic and voila ! contradiction goes away so fast !!

2) While I would agree that merit argument is bad, if you start relaxing cutoffs with ill defined categories like OBCs where the inter category differences are very large, you are bound to waste the prfits of your efforts on those who never needed it. For example if you insist on only looking at caste, how do you identify a lack of talent from a lack of opportunity?

Anonymous said...

1) capitation fees do dilute merit.

And it is obvious in the output. you just have to compare the students coming out of the capitation colleges.

2) The right thing to do for meritorious students is to teach them in good institutes with NO FEES.
this should be done from primary level ..
which means we need more navodayas ..
which means people should be made aware of the opportunities ..

without doing all this, when you reserve, what happens ?? the most affluent among the OBCs will get into the colleges ..

if i am a meritorious student, and have financial/social difficulties, the first thing i will do is to get a job. not go for higher studies.because that is the ground reality .. food and shelter ..

but my neighbour who is an affluent reserved quota guy does not have any such compulsion .. he will take that seat and become more affluent ..

people who study in elite "capitation fee" colleges are shunned when it comes to the real world. the engineers who pass out of these never do enginering, they go on to become business men, contractors and now a days call center employees ..

3) Dilip, was there reservation in BITS?

i had to give up the admission to BITS as i could not afford the fees there.

i studied in a govt college, thanks to merit. i had several class mates who came in because of reservation,

Many of them were good/average in studies, but as far as i know none of their backgrounds were too bad ..

i remember one instance though .. there was this lab viva and one of my classmates told the examiner ..
sir, dont ask me anything i dont know the answer , i am from reservation quota ..

it is this attitude which should be feared ..

4) Are you enabling people to combete in the real world ?? it is not FAIR and you have to fight ..
by giving more reservations are you enabling people to learn "fighting" ??

5) marks are not correct method of judging, agreed, many a time they are off by miles from actual capability.
But, are we ready for individual evaluation of each candidate before admitting them ? is the student - teacher ratio good enough in this country to have such evaluations ?

6) what are we (you, me , govt) doing to increase the number of good teachers in this country ??

the people who become teachers now a days seem to alarm me .. met a fellow who barely had managed to pass his degree .. that too with the help of various people/instruments. he is now a lecturer at an engineering college ..

7) what are we doing to increase the education standard .. with a degree from BITS and post grad from US, i guess you would be qualified to teach.

ever thought of increasing the standard of education in the country ??

with a btech degree from a good university in india, i confess that i am not doing anything.

which takes away my right to ask you, but still i ask,

perhaps my asking may trigger you ..

forgive me if you are doing already ..

Anonymous said...

do we have any number on how many professionals we require ??

kerala witnessed a great educational boom while i was still a kid.

the number of degree colleges increased by so much that soon anybody on the street were unemployed graduates

now, the number of engineering seats are equal to the entrance exam participants ..

so you have 29000 engineers passing out each year ?

does kerala need so many ???

we have now an unemployed engineers boom.

you have people studying for engineering who have got -ve marks in mathematics for entrance exam.

where is our country heading to with all this ??

the rule which the parents have are very simple ..
s/w engineers are the most paid now ..
so make your kid an engineer.

dushy said...

D CUBE:
I am a BITSIAN.
Please do remember that reservation based on caste has been on track for decades and it is high time for a switch over to "reservation based on economic backwardness".
If the govt tends to pay no heed to this point of ours,then there is NOTHING WRONG in saying that reservation is for LALOO and MULAYAM to enjoy!

What!! said...

I bet that if a nuanced, studied and fair method like Yogendra yadav and Satish Deshpande's was employed for the reservations, the protests would go away.

Sadly, except for Abi, we have seen no pro-reservation blogger write anything concrete about improving the implementation. About packaging the reservations package in a way such that they truly reserve the needy.

Those who call for liberalisation, privatisation, etc have been told - "Do the hard work of convincing me of your case". Why doesn't the same standard apply to the supporters of social justice?

Those who oppose the very concept of social justie and indulge in cheap tactics like sweeping streets are the rabble-rousing but tiny minority. Bulk of the protestors are those who have no problems with social justice but think the way it is being implemented, it will mostly give benefits to the undeserving un-oppressed of the OBCs.

A vast majority of the much vilified middle class youth will not protest if someone does the hard work to ensure true social justice for most beneficiaries of affirmative action.

Supporters need to do a bit of hard work concincing the stduents of their case. After all they are citizens of this country too. They are voters, tax-payers. They deserve respect for their intelligence, and would like to be convinced, in the Yadav-Deshpande-Abi way, rather than guilted in the Tejal-Dilip way.

Anonymous said...

BITS Pilani was out of the question for me because my father (unlike Dilip's) couldn't afford the fees. Private colleges were out of the question for me because my father (unlike Dilip's) couldn't afford the capitation fees. My HSC marks were not good enough to get me a seat in the open category, though I would have made it without the reserved category.

I got admission in the last bastion of meritocracy - The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. In IIT, I practtically starved because the mess food was rotten and (unlike Dilip), I couldn't afford to eat out. Heck, I had to think many times before buying a cup of tea.

Nilu said...

you want to put forward such "arguments" and want people to take you seriously and not call you logically challenged?

the blogosphere isn't exactly made of Budhha's you know...

Anonymous said...

I don't know - I have a natural suspicion of people who are from privileged backgrounds. I tend to take their pontification and playing with words with a pinch of salt.

What stake does D'Souza have in the matter? He can send his kids abroad.

ankan said...

"Two stray thoughts."

Which begs another stray thought. Lets say there are OBCs and General Classes ( the 'selfish' and 'smug' "upper castes" who have so insidiously dominated the whole hog).

Are all GCs wealthy landowners? Are they all oppressors of Dalits? Are all of them wealthy and prosperous? Can all of them afford to send their kids to costly CAT coaching classes? How many of them take a vacation abroad?

The point? There are disadvanted people in all sections of society, whichever way you want to partition the society, be it based on caste/religion/region etc. How probable is it that a GC kid living in a UP village that has no electricity or school will have similar opportunities compared to an OBC kid in a Kerela village that has much better social infrastructure? Is caste the only enabler of social mobility, is it even the primary enabler? How about economic status and regional imbalances? Why then focus on caste, except if there is hidden agenda (votes..wink wink.. votes)?

Just be honest with yourself, Sir, you will have answers to most of your questions.

tejal said...

What!! - i agree with u that the Yadav-Deshpande proposal is far more nuanced, (in fact being a woman it make me a lot happier because it also considers gender discrimination). Their proposal definitely should be discussed etc. as they say that thay would need better numbers/data from the institues concerned to fix the percentages in their proposal.

You also say - "Those who call for liberalisation, privatisation, etc have been told - "Do the hard work of convincing me of your case". Why doesn't the same standard apply to the supporters of social justice?"

I disagree because i dont think the neo-liberals are being asked to convince their case - privatization is growing unchecked and unquestioned. It is those who are questioning this model (ppl like Ms. Patkar) that are being asked to provide alternatives. In the same vein i would say, if u disagree with reservations , and as long as u agree that there is social injustice, then the onus of providing alternatives should be on you (by you i dont mean you personally, i mean anti-reservationists).

barbarindian said...

Here is another question for you Dilip:

The intake of IITs is about 3000 (say). By all accounts, the total capacity increase will be of the order of 10%. The quota will be implemented.

So, next year there will be 3300 seats. Out of these, 743 seats are reserved for SC/ST, leaving 2557 seats. Out of these, 891 is reserved for OBCs, leaving 1661 seats for GC.

Now, according to estimates, between 15 - 20 percent of students who make it to IITs today on their own steam are OBCs. using the lower 15% figure, about 383 OBCs today make it into IITs through open competition. Assuming an even distribution (*), about 134 students will fall between ranks 1661 and 2557. Next year, these OBC students (many of whom come from lower middle-class families) will have a hard choice. Give up the IIT seat to kids of powerful Jamins from TN or use the quota. What will be your advice to them?

(*) Actually, the hit will be much harder because poor talented OBC kids are concentrated towards the lower ranks.

Hari said...

Two not so stray thoughts

1) Is Affirmative action needed?

If right, is a reservation policy in which castes is a factor, the way to go? are all the OBC's the oppressed ones? are all the OC's the oppressees? Is takin the wealth of OC's and distribute to the OBC's viable plan? if not why?

2) Is it correct to say Caste is very important? right.
Then why not choose a pool of the most oppressed ones (belonging to the most oppressed castes) and make them the national leaders on a rotational policy? why not oppress and subjugate the OC's for a period of time and get it over with? Is it fair to play the oppressed caste card on a needed basis? if not why?

Dilip D'Souza said...

what: Sadly, except for Abi, we have seen no pro-reservation blogger write anything concrete about improving the implementation.

Indeed, Abi is doing a fine job. But here's something I proposed a month ago, that someone opposed to reservations actually suggested during an argument she and I had. Very few seem to have paid attention to this -- and I note that you haven't either.

I think it's pretty concrete, I believe it will improve the implementation, I have no interest in inducing guilt as you accuse me of doing, I just propose it because it makes sense and it's a reasonable compromise in a climate of polarisation. I think it takes the debate further.

I would love to know now what you think:

I think one [possibility] is for the Mandal recommendations to be modified to say that even though they are 52% of the population, the additional reservations they get is not 27% (over the SC/ST 22.5), but a smaller number, let's say 10.5%. And that the total of 33 (22.5 + 10.5) is now open to SC/ST/OBC. So you have an increase, due to Mandal's recognition that some OBCs need help; but at the same time, it's not proportionate to their population, and it also simultaneously effectively decreases the SC/ST fraction. So in effect, you have a level of competition for those 33% reservations, with less of an impact on the open category. Naturally this needs to be thought through some more, and sold politically. But it's one answer that comes to mind.

(I suggested it here).

Dilip D'Souza said...

ankan: There are disadvanted people in all sections of society, whichever way you want to partition the society, be it based on caste/religion/region etc. ... Is caste the only enabler of social mobility, is it even the primary enabler? How about economic status and regional imbalances? Why then focus on caste [etc]

But that's just the point, ankan. Mandal was explicitly not a focus on caste. Please look at their criteria (here for example) and see for yourself that it takes exactly the kinds of things you suggest into account in determining who is a OBC.

barbarindian said...

So you basically agree that the draconian measure of 50% is too much and you are willing to scale back. Now, we already have 27% OBC reservations in ALL institutes except the premier ones, plus all government jobs. Don't you think that is enough of a social justice?

I assume your answer would be no, because your bleeding heart could not take less than an IIT for a Dalit/OBC bro.

So how about these provisions:
1. Right now about 50% seats of SC/ST go vacant anyway. How about scaling the SC/ST seat down to say 10% and 5% resepectively (a simultaneous increase in seats by about 10% would actually keep SC/ST absolute numbers pretty close to what they are today)?
2. MBC (not OBC) reservation: say we fix it at 10%.
3. Strict enforcement of creamy layer exclusion and no members from TN in the committee.

Do you agree? If you do, are you willing to join our fight against the preposterous 50% unaffirmative action?

Anonymous said...

Dumbos sneaking into BITS based on pappa D'Souza's muscle?
Diluted merits acceptable?

>>Are all of them children of Lalu and Mulayam?
Now why would Lalu or Mulayam send his kids to engineering or medical college Dilip? What man Dilip, lights on but you upper story seems empty.

abhinav said...

All OBCs are not landowners.But some of them definitely are.All of them are not children of Lalu. Many of them need help. Especially people like these who definitely show guts far beyong anything that people like me from the cities could show.

Statement: Reservation dilutes merit.Maybe,maybe not.However, I can definitely state that affirmative action does not dilute merit and I can substantiate that from facts from MIT itself. MIT has 6% African American population and 12%
Hispanic
and is committed to promote affirmative action and has stated so in court that race be kept as factor in admissions. See here .

Capitation fees definitely dilute merit.

So do restrictions to Indians dilute merit(As an aside the JEE is open to foreign nationals and the IIMs are open to foreign nationals).

The only way of deciding that which dilution is acceptable is to follow the money trail. Those who fund must state the level of control that they want over the functioning of the institutions, which means whom to teach , what to teach and who shall teach.One can decide to only enroll the progeny of the funders, one can decide to have access proportionate to the demographics, one can decide to teach only esoteric sciences , one can decide to take only Board toppers, one can decide to teach only women, one can decide to strive for Nobel class research and so on. Once this is clearly stated by the funders and accepted by the administration of the institution, then that is the way it should go.

There can be many different scenarios in such a situation, the institutions can be minions of the funding agency where all powers lie with the funding agency, the funding agency can have a guiding role, the funding agency can have no role in functioning. The only point is clarity about the control of power.

As to Mr.Yadav's proposition , it is far ,far better than any crude method of reservation(although too impersonal for my taste, it seems like the only process which could combine focus on the individual rather than community and fairness).

The number 33 as to the percentage of reservation,it seems like a much better deal than 49.5 cos there is something strictly psychological about that number 49.5, so precariously close to half. Maybe it conjures up thoughts of predatorship, something which was envisaged by Ambedkar himself and information is from writings of beteille. I quote below

"Ambedkar argued that there are several conflicting aims which have to be reconciled.First, there is the aim of providing equal opportunity for all, irrespective of caste, creed and community. That is very important. The second aim is to create special opportunities for those sections of society which have been severely deprived and disadvantaged. But he went on to add that these special opportunities should not be so extensive as to ‘eat up’ the general provision of equality of opportunity for all. Those were the words he used."

Heck, this comment has been long enough and I'll try and make a full fledged post after further clarification of thoughts.

barbarindian said...

Don't forget that the MIT figures of 6% and 11% are university wide. MIT has hundreds of Majors and Minors.

The important thing is, MIT pretty much does it on its own, an illiterate minister and his goondas do not threaten its Deans.

Sarah said...

More thoughts...

I think everyone agrees on the need for good quality universal primary education. It makes me sad to think that nearly 60 yrs after independence, caste and religion still divide us. A lot of children still go to bed hungry, and many, many, many Indians of every caste, creed and religion simply lack the economic power and opportunity to access quality basic education. Yet instead of addressing this problem, we see dirty political games. How about...

- Improving the quality and accessibility of primary education.

- Making policies to ensure that only the truly needy, and not the privileged amongst the OBCs, benefit from reservations. So

a) The idea should be that parents should be able to educate students till their level of education *without* any quotas. e.g. the son of an OBC engineer has to get into an IIT/REC/med school on his own merit.

b) The children of all college profs, MLAs, MPs, private sector and public sector employees (past and present) of a certain grade/managerial position should compete in the general category.

c) Define economic criteria which take OBCes out of the reservation system. The aim should be to diminish the importance of caste.. and nothing helps it like economic might. When economics allows the historically under privileged to join the mainstream, they should be made to forsake their quotas for their less privileged caste mates.

- Revisit the quota system and tweak it downward every 5 years. The aim must be to grow as a nation so we can diminish and eventually get rid of archaic quota systems... for good.

Frankly, there's something wrong when you have 50%+ reservation and can't find ppl to fill up the quota. There's something wrong when so many students feel marginalised and think that all that matters is "caste". There's something definitely wrong when many children go hungry and stay illiterate in this land of rising quotas.

barbarindian said...

Revisit the quota system and tweak it downward every 5 years.

What? Are you asking our ministers to commit mass political suicide?

Anonymous said...

Dilip
"I think one [possibility] is for the Mandal recommendations to be modified to say that even though they are 52% of the population, the additional reservations they get is not 27% (over the SC/ST 22.5), but a smaller number, let's say 10.5%. And that the total of 33 (22.5 + 10.5) is now open to SC/ST/OBC. So you have an increase, due to Mandal's recognition that some OBCs need help; but at the same time, it's not proportionate to their population, and it also simultaneously effectively decreases the SC/ST fraction. So in effect, you have a level of competition for those 33% reservations, with less of an impact on the open category. Naturally this needs to be thought through some more, and sold politically. But it's one answer that comes to mind."

IS A SENSIBLE IDEA ..



the ideal scenario is individual evaluation of all applications.

Not blind mark based admission.

each candidate should be individually evaluated based on his/her marks, intention in life (or SOP as it is more known), his/her social and cultural background and if possible personal interiew, which should not be just about academic subjects.

For all this, you need extra teachers .. extra resources ..

Remove the fixed quotas, evaluate the diversity of the student community over a period of 5 years.. if the colleges remain elite, cancel their recognition.

change rules for capitation colleges.

for every capitation fee student, you have to admit an sc/st/obc student for free ..

Anonymous said...

the basic question is

ARE YOU A CAPITALIST OR A SOCIALIST.

A capitalist society will want the best possible persons

a socialist society on the other hand looks for equality across the various strata of the society.

oops.. some political party may use these lines ..

What!! said...

Dilip, are you proposing a common quota for SC, ST and OBC in your 33% reservations idea? Or sub-divisions within that quota?

And where do you stand on the MBC issue? Do you believe that those OBCs who are doing well should be actively found out and excluded from reservations?

I ask this because there is a school of thought within the pro-reservation camps which does not like the concept of creamy layer at all (which is why these reservations were announced without a creamy layer exemption).

barbarindian said...

ARE YOU A CAPITALIST OR A SOCIALIST.

Dilip is an OPPORTUNIST. He does not believe in anything. See, after a post about farmer suicides he easily writes about how he desires to possess a rare oak cask. But he will ask you and me to give up our seats or our money in taxes for various welfare ponzi schemes.

Socialism is a looters' creed.

Anonymous said...

Dilip: But that's just the point, ankan. Mandal was explicitly not a focus on caste

Do you really believe that? I went through the points and even if I personally qualify (say I am poor, my household is far way from a driking water source etc etc), the fact that these are applied as a group and not at the indivual level means I cannot avail them-And what is this grouping based on? Not on economic criteria or on geographical location. But solely on CASTE. So essentially the fact that the criteria is not applied at the individual level but at a group level (and the group is defined by a caste) essentially means Mandal is all about caste.

Anonymous said...

anon 4:24,

You are wasting your breath. Dilip has been repeatedly peddling this canard that Mandal is about class. He has been called on this but coolly ignores the arguments. It is patently obvious to anyone who wants to see reason that mnadal is NOT about class regradless of whether Class is in the OBC title itself. The fact that no brahmin, no matter how poor or disdvantaged, can qualify under Mandal whereas a rich OBC no matter how priviliged can qualify itself should tell you that it has nothing to do with class and everything to do with caste.

The whole idea is lump people into convenient identities and not see them as individuals.