hidden image

Policy Paralysis : Mandal, Kamandal Politics Come Full Circle

Manoj Varghese Manoj Varghese
03 May 2021

Corona, Corona everywhere; no bed, no oxygen, no vaccine, no medicine anywhere; mass cremations everywhere! With over 3 lakh cases per day, we didn’t unlock the covid crisis properly and had been busy in panchayat and Assembly elections. While the second surge of Corona was at its peak, it is learnt that over 35 lakh sadhus and devotees took dip in the Holy Ganges in Haridwar during the Kumbh Mela violating the protocols. 

With an outlay of Rs 2,23,846 crore Union Budget allocated specifically on Health sector for the year 2021-22, eyebrows are raised as to where this money has been pumped in. Doctors and patients are pleading for Oxygen! Last year, in October, the Central Govt had approved the setting up of 162 Oxygen plants in 150 districts with the help of PM Cares Fund of Rs 201 crore, but till March 2021 hardly 33 plants had come up, surprisingly Uttar Pradesh with none of the 14 plants that was earmarked. With no Govt support coming up, Serum Institute invested 2000 crore and another 2200 crore was pooled in by the Bill Gates foundation for the vaccine production, as compared to Rs 44,700 crore invested by the Govt in the US.

With the advent of second wave of Corona, the entire healthcare system of our country has been exposed. Mandal and Kamandal are learnt to be the main reasons for the crackdown of our medical system. One of my classmates, Neelam, scored negative marks in the Pre-Medical Test, but was still able to make it for MBBS, owing to ST reservation with 8% marks in aggregate, and people scoring 72% in the general category were left out. As the Indian destiny had its say, he took 5 years to clear his first year and in total 12 years to clear the 4.5 years course of MBBS.  But was again fortunate enough to be inducted as a Govt doctor in a State govt. hospital. With over 50% reservation for the Backward classes and 30% brain drain, 10% engaged in private sector, hardly 10% well qualified doctors are left back in India in the Govt setup. Mandal Commission has set up a strong vote bank at the cost of shaky healthcare infrastructure with its reservation policy. 

Playing the caste politics and with the aim to tilt the underprivileged voters of Congress Party, the Janata Party, in its election manifesto in 1977, promised reservation for the backward classes in all appointments to government services and educational opportunities.

Later, the Government of India, under Prime Minister Morarji Desai, appointed a Commission under the chair¬manship of B.P. Mandal, Member of Parliament, to get definite recommendations by which it could implement its election promises. The Commission recommended reservation of 27 per cent jobs and promotions be made for those who do not qualify on the basis of merit. 

Though the report had been completed in 1983, finally it was the V.P. Singh government which declared its intent to implement the report in August 1990, leading to widespread student protests. It is unfair to accord people special privileges on the basis of caste, even in order to redress traditional caste discrimination. Those that deserve the seat through merit are at a disadvantage and reflect on the repercussions of unqualified candidates assuming critical positions in society (doctors, engineers, etc.).

Later, the saffron party unleashed its religion-politics of “Kamandal” to counter “Mandal” seizing the opportunity presented by the setting up of the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas in 1986. This led to the destruction of the Babri Masjid and has initiated a national-level campaign to build a huge Ram Temple at Ayodhya. Owing to the concurrent support for pseudo-nationalism, people with RSS background are being given priority in appointments to appease the higher ups in power over the talented and worthy.

Along with Mandal and Kamandal, corruption is learnt to be the main reason for the devastating results to handle a situation like Corona. It is the root cause of several evils! Even during this death-like situation, the oxygen cylinders worth Rs 850 is being sold for Rs 20,000 and injections worth Rs 900 at the cost of Rs. 30,000. The mindset is to avail opportunities, even at the cost of a life. 

After the first spike last year, a fraud in purchase of ventilators had come to the fore. Ventilators for COVID-19 treatment ordered by the Central Government from a Gujarat-based firm called Jyoti CNC Automation had not received a recommendation from a technical committee set up by the health ministry’s Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) as of July 2020, according to documents obtained through the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Accordingly, even though the firm received an advance payment from the health ministry in May, their ventilators had not been installed in hospitals across the country. On May 20, 2020, the-then health secretary Preeti Sudan wrote a letter to PM adviser Bhaskar Khulbe, informing him that the ministry had placed orders for 58,850 ‘Made-in-India’ ventilators from 5 companies for a purchase order value of Rs 2,332.2 crore.

Adding to the VIP culture, the Delhi government had converted 100 rooms of Ashoka Hotel into a Covid health facility for High Court judges, judicial staff and their families. In an order, the Chanakyapuri Sub-Divisional Magistrate said that Primus Hospital will run the facility at Ashoka Hotel and also handle the biomedical waste disposal. The order also stated that the charges for the use of the facility will be collected by the hospital and payment will be made by it to the hotel.

The SDM in the order stated that a request had been received from the Delhi High Court for setting up of CHC (community health centre) facility for the Judges and other judicial officers of Delhi High Court and their families. After the High Court’s denial that it had requested allotment of five-star COVID-19 care facilities for its judges and their families, the Delhi government withdrew its order allocating 100 rooms.

Unlike in India, during the 18 years of her leadership, German Chancellor Angela Merkel lived a normal life, did not buy real estate, cars, yachts and private planes. She lived in a common apartment but has developed Germany to be the largest economy in Europe.

As per a national Survey, only 0.7% of entire population gets scholarship through merit, rest are reserved. Students studying hard and from General category don’t have a bright chance to grab the opportunity even if he/she is from financially unstable background. Time has come to amend the laws and change rules for the good.

Reservation has not been reaching masses where it should. Rich and influential backward caste candidates are getting opportunities and benefited from it while poor backward class people, Harijans are still deprived of the facilities they rightfully possess. The reservation system is so corrupt and is used in negative way for meeting electoral requirements that it fails to meet its actual propaganda of helping and upraising Dalits and those who are socially and economically backward. 

The real talented people of India, those who truly deserve to be here are not getting enough job opportunities, better career options making them migrate to foreign countries where they are offered handsome amount for their skills. We are letting other people use our talent rather than using it ourselves for the development of country.

Every political party played their cards for the vote bank, be it the underprivileged by the Congress, Backward Classes in the name of Mandal Commission by the Janata Party or the Kamandal poll plank of the BJP, the ultimate sufferer has been the common man and the talented ones are left out. Damage is already done. Had the meritorious students been given the opportunities they deserve several precious lives could have been saved. 

Failure to act, Refusal to act and Acting far too late have led to policy paralysis. 

Recent Posts

The furore surrounding NEET has once again brought the need for systemic reforms in education to the fore.
apicture Jaswant Kaur
24 Jun 2024
The RSS' sudden snipe against immoral politics and concern for issues it had hitherto left untouched can be perceived from many angles.
apicture Ram Puniyani
24 Jun 2024
Mr Modi and Mr Bhagwat are both vicious personalities with a cussed arrogance
apicture John Dayal
24 Jun 2024
The Modi-led BJP has aimed for a "Congress-mukt Bharat" since 2014, weakening democracy.
apicture Jacob Peenikaparambil
24 Jun 2024
Modi has gone on record saying that he has invited Pope Francis to India!
apicture Cedric Prakash
24 Jun 2024
None of us have yet emerged from the shock of one of the most devastating fire accidents in Kuwait, which killed 50 migrant workers, including 46 Indians, on Wednesday, June 12, 2024.
apicture Dr Arnald Mahesh SDB
24 Jun 2024
Uttarakhand's forest fires have resulted in the loss of not only human lives but also a vast forest area.
apicture Vidya Bhushan Rawat
24 Jun 2024
Prime Minister Modi tends to dismiss climate change, attributing the challenges to altered human behaviour.
apicture Peter Fernandes, SFX
24 Jun 2024
I believe, and this is not a political article, that these elections have shown us qualities of true leadership.
apicture Robert Clements
24 Jun 2024
Many years ago, Mahatma Gandhi spoke about seven crimes. One of them is "Politics without principle."
apicture M L Satyan
17 Jun 2024