Dr. Malay Chaudhuri
Founder - Director, IIPM & Author of the Best Seller ‘The Great Indian Dream
217 years ago, in 1789, French Revolutionaries revolted against injustice of feudalism and called for Liberty, Fraternity & Equality. This resulted in a kind of socio-economic equality in Europe, which prevails till date. As an example, if engineers are paid USD 45,000 USD 60,000 per month, workers, even sweepers, are also paid around USD 15,000 USD 20,000 per month; all of them enjoy life of social dignity and live without any discrimination and exercise their democratic rights backed by universal literacy and upheld by truly democratic parties which practice inner-party democracy. The difference in income is thus in a ratio of 3:1. This is also what it should be in an ideal society (see Appendix on Theory of Production of Skills by means of skills in The Great Indian Dream, by Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam Chaudhuri). This is not so in India. Here, graduates from IIMs and IITs are paid around Rs. 50,000 per month, while agricultural labourers and unorganized workers consider themselves lucky if they earn Rs. 2,000 per month. In West Bengal, there are around 4,600 villages where a family of 5 has to live with just Rs. 850 per month. The situation is no different in most other parts of India.
For a family of five, the poverty line, as defined by today's prices, will be around Rs. 2,000 per month. We should better describe poverty line as DESTITUTION LINE. Similarly, our manipulative politicians, many of them with criminal background belonging to dynastic/feudal/caste-ist/Stalinist parties do not consider any family in the creamy layer, until and unless the family earns more than Rs. 80,000 per month or Rs. 10 lacs per annum. Therefore, 95% of the concessions allowed to SC/ST since independence till today, are enjoyed by people from the so called non-creamy layers (actually, belonging to rich by Indian standard). Most backward castes (MBCs like bhangis, doms and others) and the poorest of the poor numbering around 95% of SC/ST, enjoy hardly the remaining 5% of the concessions (quota facilities of different kinds). Interestingly, the gang of increasingly criminalized political party leaders, are now vocal to allot 27% of the seats in higher learning institutions to creamy layers (in the name of OBC quota), who already obtain merit seats of the general category, almost in proportion to their actual number (which is much below the number mentioned in Mandal Commission Report) in the population.
The aim of demand for reservations is to enable these creamy layers of OBC to get into the higher learning institutions, even at the cost of deterioration of the high standards of the internationally recognized centres of excellence, created over the past 50 years. If we really have to help the economically deprived and exploited MBCs, dalits and muslims, we have to provide their children educational facilities (like hostels, room teachers for a group of every 10 pupils, etc., as has been provided by the Al Amin Schools in West Bengal) from the primary school level to higher secondary level. We may then see that these oppressed and deprived castes and communities automatically earn seats in the institutes of higher learning (medical colleges, IITs, IIMs, etc.) in proportion to their actual number in the population. The IIPM Think Tank has calculated that an annual allotment of Rs. 110,000 Cr per annum is required for the same. This money can be raised easily by increasing excise duties on various luxury items or by crossing the so called fiscal deficit limits, adhered to religiously by our government. Though otherwise, in every other sphere, they, unashamedly practice indiscipline, forget pledges given to people before elections, etc. etc.
If we really stand for equality, we have to see that potential merit present in all these castes and communities, blossoms in reality in the near future and not that these people continue to be suppressed for decades to come.
Besides, we also have to see that increasing inequality in the present system of distribution of national income disappear as early as possible, say within a generation (around 25 years). Right now, the remuneration of professionals, managers, doctors, engineers are increasing by 10-15% per annum. In case of unorganized agricultural labourers or workers, increase in income is hardly 1-2% per annum and in some years, even nil. If we need to achieve the goal as laid above, in the interest of equality, as understood by Western democracies, we have to design a system of income distribution, where the pattern of distribution of national income will just be reverse, of what it is today. Ideally, income of agricultural labourers and unorganized workers must increase by 12% per annum while the income of professionals should not increase by more than 3% per annum. This is possible even within the limits of a well regulated capitalist system, provided we remain committed to humanitarian goals of socio-economic equality. With 3% increase in income, compounded annually, the remuneration of professionals will improve from Rs. 50,000 per month now, to Rs. 100,000 per month in the next 24 years. In case of workers and agricultural labourers, wages of Rs. 2,000 per month will become Rs. 32,000 per month in 24 years, if income grows at 12% per annum, compounded annually. Those who subscribe to the above policy of National Income Distribution, have formed a students' movement named.
STUDENTS AGAINST CORRUPTION AND KICKBACKS (SACK).
Aim of SACK is also to help realize the noble goals as professed by Youth for Equality, but by adding on to the movement the aspect of a humane vision of equality in terms of income as well, and make it a permanent and sustainable platform. This body also aims to fight against political corruption (e.g., Vote-bank politics of castes and communities, which helps our politicians to disrupt the existing harmony among the people and manipulate them to grab political power at the state and national level) and kickbacks of all kinds (bribes, black money, etc.) earned by bureaucrats and politicians whenever there is an opportunity. Like Youth for Equality, SACK is also a very correct initiative and I urge more and more people to come forward and join SACK and fight for the correct cause of real equality for all Indians.
Let India 'shine', not only for the top 20%, but also for all our brothers and sisters, who have been subjected to a life of inhuman indignity and destitution, over the past centuries, be in the urban slums or rural habitations where dalits and muslims live.