Policy Proposals For India is a continuously evolving research effort that aims to reach out to academics, researchers, media professionals and policy makers at all levels in government and corporate sectors of India. The website essentially focuses on some of the most challenging issues the country is facing, and at the same time offers concrete policy suggestions that can help them in achieving rational outcomes in their endeavours. It houses articles on topics as wide as public administration, strategic affairs, economy, social development, education, health, environment and science & technology.

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Stop Reservations! Generate Opportunities For All

The reservation issue has more to do with the lack of opportunities for the students to pursue a career of their choice rather than social upliftment.

By PPFI Team

November 13, 2008

Reservations have been hailed by many as the most effective measure in promoting social equality in India. However, it has only increased the social divide in the country. Riots and self-immolations have taken place over the issue in several parts of the country. However the supporters and opponents of reservations as well as the governments at the centre and the state fail to address a more fundamental issue – the denial of opportunity to an individual to groom himself in a career stream of his choice, his position in the social strata notwithstanding.

The real issue that needs to be addressed here is that even after sixty years of independence, India has not been able to ensure even primary education to all it's citizens, leave alone quality high education. It is surprising that we have only eight Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), seven Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and just one All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) when there is a scope of a hundred more such institutions considering the vastness of our country. It is often argued that increasing their numbers will lead to the fall in their standards and brand value. On the flip side though, it can be argued that there is a need to provide similar high quality academic opportunities to the maximum number of people possible.

Thought it is impossible to create new IITs and IIMs every year, efforts can be made to upgrade the facilities and quality of staff in other institutions. For examples, upgradation of facilities can be undertaken in institutions like National Institutes of Technology (NITs). Once they achieve a certain level in terms of faculty and infrastructure, they can be promoted to the status of IITs. Similar initiatives can be taken in colleges of other streams also. These measures will not only ensure high quality manpower in larger numbers but also quell to a large extent the fire of discontent over reservations.

Though the governments in various states have promoted private sector participation in education and a large number of private engineering and management institutions have opened all over the country, the quality of education provided by them is questionable. They have limited resources in terms of faculty and infrastructure. Here the governments can chip in with funds to colleges that are doing well. Also an all India level examination system can be evolved in every stream of higher education so that uniform standards can be maintained across all the colleges in the country. The task may be daunting but needs to be undertaken so that no individual misses out on a chance to pursue his cherished career because of the failure of the successive governments at the centre and the states to generate opportunities in enough numbers.

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