Caste or Income based Reservation- Which is Better?

Caste or Income based Reservation- Which is Better?

Caste based reservation has been questioned in India since its inception. The idea that people of a minority community deserve benefits has not gone down well with many of the majority. But the biggest question is whether caste based reservation is fair, given that the creamy layer gets most of the benefits? Many propose that income based reservation will solve India’s problems and turn the demographic disaster into a demographic dividend. Reservation is a critical issue for Indian youth. Let us examine both caste and income based reservation to see which is the more deserving one of the two.

Case for Income Based Reservation

1. Reservation should be for the poor: To provide equal opportunity as far as equity is concerned, reservation policy should be associated with economic status and rich/poor classification. This will prevent the privileged classes in minority communities from unduly benefiting from caste based reservation, whether it is in government jobs or medical admissions.

2. Income based reservation will help urban-rural population: India still lives in her villages and instead of caste based reservation, income based reservation will be more beneficial because people from rural areas and low income groups will benefit. Even the urban poor need assistance and special affirmative action programs will be able to ensure their continued upliftment

3. People from high income groups would stop getting undue benefits - Those below the poverty line and low income groups are the ones that need help. Income based reservation will see to it that people from high income groups are barred from advantages given that they have already received the benefits of economic upliftment

4. This will stop the rush to get OBC/SC/ST status: Many castes are making attempts to be classified as backward to avail the benefits. Consider the Patels or Patidars of Gujarat who are an economically and politically dominant community. Given that the Patels have worldwide presence as entrepreneurs and NRIs, it seems ironical that they are demanding caste based reservation for their community.

5. Existing reservation policy has failed: Caste based reservation has failed to assimilate SC and ST within the mainstream.

6. People from majority communities are facing unemployment too- Lack of jobs despite a model of development that promises unparalleled growth is a reality in India, regardless of which political party is at the helm. Over the past few decades, India’s young working population has risen while the number of jobs have fallen. Caste based reservation in favour of the creamy layer has proved to be discriminatory for those belonging to the general category. General category students are being denied jobs and admissions because of the caste based reservation system.

7. Educated youth will get better benefits: The poor, educated youth will benefit from income based reservation and get a chance to access a brighter future.

8. Caste based reservation was only a temporary provision to start with: Reservation policy was initiated as a temporary provision for only 10 years in the Indian constitution in 1950s and it was never meant to be a permanent feature of national policies. Vote bank politics sustained the system rather than genuine consideration for the poor and oppressed in society. The caste based reservation system has failed to include the people at the lower end of mainstream society and economy.

9. Non poor seen as beneficiaries of reservation will promote caste divide: Agitations such as the Patidar stir are just symptoms; eventually the malady will spread to promote divisions in society based on caste and even contribute to caste conflicts.

10. Caste based reservation has not prevented ill treatment of Dalit and lower castes: Discrimination is still rampant against members of SC and ST community especially in rural areas. Reservation in the name of caste has done nothing to prevent this.

11. Deprived deserve a reprieve - Income based reservation will ensure that the creamy layer does not make off with a majority of the benefits while those from poorer sections yet belonging to minority communities are left on the sidelines.

Case for Caste Based Reservation

1. Reservation based on caste attempts to root out longstanding social inequality: Economically weaker sections of society are also those belonging to the minority community. Reservation will help students from backward castes to access better opportunities, something that they have been denied for years now.

2. Reservation system opens doors of opportunities: Caste based reservation is a positive step forward to remove social and economic disparities in society

3. Affluence should not become a criteria for reservation: This will only serve to prevent those from socially excluded classes from accessing government jobs and education caused by caste system’s discriminatory dynamics for a long time now.

4. Caste based reservation is the best cure for the bigoted caste system: Reservation on the basis of caste will be beneficial to undo the social dynamics of a bigoted caste system. Including or excluding castes for reservation based on income level will only lead to the reversion of the dominant upper caste and create imbalances in society

5. Affirmative action programs are meant to address social inequity: Even in the US, affirmative action programmes and Equal Opportunity policies are not done away with for the richer class because doing so will end the representation of race and people for whom the affirmative action programme is intended. Candidates from minority communities are currently underrepresented in education and government jobs. Preventing caste based reservation from continuing will only come in the way of legitimate affirmative action.

6. Reservation provides social inclusion if it caste based: Caste based reservation aims to enable education and employment representation for social groups that have even been excluded from the same for many years.

7. Attitude change will only come about if there is caste based reservation: Caste based reservation will serve to empower Dalits, SC, ST and OBCs and ensure that the majority stop holding discriminatory attitudes towards them.

8. Very poor may not be educated enough for jobs: Another moot point is that people from extremely deprived and marginalised sections of society may not have the education to survive in a government job. Reserving jobs only for them will not solve the problem. Unless education reaches poorer sections of society, income based reservation will remain an incomplete solution for society’s ailments

9. Economic upliftment is only possible through financial aid: Just as caste based reservation is meant to address social inequity, subsidies are meant to help those from economically weaker sections of society. Income based reservation will not solve the problem of poverty. In fact, it may exacerbate it.

10. Reservation on basis of income cannot solve the problem of poverty: Only a welfare state and pro poor policies will be able to remove the curse of poverty and free India from its vicious cycle.


Caste or income based reservation?….the issue is a thorny one. There are complexities associated with each form of reservation. In the ultimate analysis, caste based reservation can only succeed in uplifting members of the minority community if there is an income component to it as well. Excluding the creamy layer from benefits would be a positive step to help those who are really marginalised and poor and from SC/ST/OBC background. Income can be a criteria for reservation alongside caste and those facing social as well as economic inequity can then get the upliftment they so urgently require. Till then, people will continue to have reservations about quota system, whether it is income or caste based.
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  • RE: Caste or Income based Reservation- Which is Better? -ASHOK SRIVASTAVA (03/04/16)
  • Reservation should be based on income and the most common parameter is govt job : if a student's father or mother is a govt employee then he should not be given reservation what so ever the caste. Because that candidate have all the facilities to study. There must be an affidavit with the application form which will be signed by the father or mother confessing that they have govt job and they don't want reservation because they are eligible to compete on marit as an unreserved. This will automatically reduce the burden on reservation. As I have personally seen many candidates from reserved catagory having their father brother and other family members are govt employee yet he is getting reservation which is not good. And there are many unreserved category candidates who are struggling to fill up the form as the cost is very high. So this is not the equality. So let it be that there is caste based reservation but bring those people out from reservation who are from lower caste but having all facilities.
  • RE: Caste or Income based Reservation- Which is Better? -Anchal (02/16/16)
  • Income based reservations are still better then cast base reservations because if we really are concerned about uplifting the minority class, so income based reservations will cover up all the low income minority class people who can not afford to be educated. but now the question is, will they be talented enough to be the future doctors, scientists, lawyers, teachers, economists, of our country, I mean on which basis we are judging our county's future?, is the idea of reservations logical enough?.
    I think the whole reservation system should be abolished, this is the time when we have to start selecting on the basis of talent, education, hard work, experience, merit and irrespective of cast, gender, creed, age or income. there is lot of other ways as well to provide education to those who are backward and lack of money but reservations is not a justified solution.
  • RE: Caste or Income based Reservation- Which is Better? -tuhina shah (01/18/16)
  • According to me ,its time to abolish the reservation system at all. First of all, let me remind you the motive of bringing reservation system in INDIA. It was to bring into light the weaker sections of the society so that they do not get weaker and lost in the society when the country was already facing an upliftment phase.Well i think that reservation system worked as a boon that time and proved to be successful ,if we see it as of now.But now the time has come when we all have started agreeing of EQUALITY in all why are we being partial here.Everybody has their own skills and which should get recognition everywhere.This system of reservation is a hurdle for opportunities to many people and the undeserving seems to take away all the benefits.
    Now the society has uplifted a lot and no reservation system should be there.WE SHOULD EITHER NOT TALK ABOUT EQUALITY AT ALL OR SHOULD STICK TO THE IDEA OF IT, IF FOLLOWED .
  • RE: Caste or Income based Reservation- Which is Better? -nahida (12/18/15)
  • today we are all aware of the expensivness of quality education(education determins the quality of career) intellectuals of remote areas seek genuin education in a city bcz of lack of good iinstitutios in that area. Then what reservation can do if she cant even living expenses other than the considerabl fees?
    bpl, khadya suraksa, indira awas, cycle or other.. Can any one of them help her? The investmnt in these schemes should b used in vigilance of no right to education but that right to quality education.
    Undeniabl, the worth of reservation lies in "social justice". Of course, it is only the reservation which has brought many of the social inferiors to b recognised in the society. In our country backwards hav been always lookd beneath. Thinking of them, handing them and placing them in the devlopment stream is the main crux of reservation. So reservation may b a solution bt ney the prereqesite of progress
  • RE: Caste or Income based Reservation- Which is Better? -nahida (12/18/15)
  • "why reservation had been introduced to unfold devlopment from every corner of the country, bt what the reservation has become- a political game of leaders and the common weapon of the social discrimination and intolerance."
    why this reservation? It detects th peopl belonging to the dark community and giving them hand to join the main progressiv stream
    is reservation a solutio, as it is like a favouratism on th which basis som less deservd are facilitated mor easily nto career.
    reservation says that if a reservd candidate secures unreservd seat then he got that leaving his reservd seat for another reservd candidate. Does that not means we are picking more backwrds throwing mor desrvd ones in dark?
    Is reservation a solution?- giving discounts in selections, suppying foods, shelters, etc. can never contribute in improving a talent. Devlopment doesnt lie in giving alms to the needy. Then why reservation for those also, that also and so on.. There should b no reservation for either or also.
    today we all ar awar
  • RE: Caste or Income based Reservation- Which is Better? -sakshi samdani (12/15/15)
  • According to me there should be no reservation at all.neither caste nor income based.initially Dr. B. R. Ambedkar brought this reservation system for the sack of lower caste community get recognised as at that time they were treated as untouchables. But now all are equal. Students of all classes whether lower or upper enjoy their life together. The cause for what this system made is at a level done and now it should be stopped as many ill effects of this system is in front of us. Talented students from general class due to lack of opportunities are commuting suicides or migrating to other countries due to reservation. This has increased the problem of brain drain.the talent of India is working for other countries. The creamy layer is taking advantage of this system and the poorer are left behind empty handed. It has decreased the growth of our country. On the other hand , income based system is also not going to work due to corruption . people having higher salary will make use of it. So the main cause of reservation will be finished. Rather the money spent on this should be used to make people educated. To provide them schools , teachers and other useful things.
  • RE: Caste or Income based Reservation- Which is Better? -Mahesh patil (12/14/15)
  • I'm in the favour of income based reservation.
    Again we have a chip mentality of lower and upper class category. Looking to another countries they not support to castism. Taking the example of American president Barack Obama who is also belong to backward class, who get lot of respect from all over world. So I think reservation should be only for neddy poor people.
  • RE: Caste or Income based Reservation- Which is Better? -sachin bhagwat (12/13/15)
  • I agree with the favor with income based reservation because the people who have financial problem cannot get job in case he is belongs to general categories so cast based reservation should be stoped now
  • RE: Caste or Income based Reservation- Which is Better? -KRANTIVEER (12/11/15)
  • According to my point of view that,reservation should be on the basis of caste system.actully resevation policy is not for making good economical condition .it is only for making equality in the can also think that why reservation system made on the caste system .why it was need that time ,why it was was essential that time because of presence of caste basis descimination in our socity.and it is also running present day in our society.if u really want to remove reservation system on the basis of caste system then first of all u remove caste system of our society,then reservation system automatically comes to the end point.
  • RE: Caste or Income based Reservation- Which is Better? -Venu Agarwal (12/02/15)
  • I am not in favor of Cast based reservation. It should be Income based reservation. There are many talented and educated students, who belongs to the general category but economically poor, are not getting admissions and job too.Many casts want to get qualified as ST/SC/OBC and it can be stopped by Income based Reservation. Non poor persons are getting benefit of this. Uneducated person of lower category are getting jobs.Income based Reservation will exclude creamy layer from benefits.It will help and uplift the students who are really talented.
  • RE: Caste or Income based Reservation- Which is Better? -Bijaya Kumar Mohanty (12/01/15)
  • Govt should abolish the total reservation system and provide educational help for those financial back ward and OBC/SC/STpeople to show their ability .

  • RE: Caste or Income based Reservation- Which is Better? -nandyhazel (11/27/15)
  • i agree caste based reservation.
    because of the large number of rural ares there are lot of lower caste students is there and they are cant get any knowledge for their future plan or life. they are also study but we all must agree one thing, that is they are rejected by when they are born in this earth .so, if we give chance to that type of people they are growth lower into upper.
    thank you, by hazel
  • RE: Caste or Income based Reservation- Which is Better? -Hardik Parmar (11/26/15)
  • I support caste based reservations.
    Reservations are neither an economic upliftment program nor poverty allivation scheme. its a social upliftment program & given to those people who are social backward from thousand years because of cheap mentality of upper cast people. why i dont support income based reservations bcos its unfair with SC/ST candidate. Upper cast poor is only poor while Lower cast poor is Poor+Lower cast Label. In election, Nobody will vote for SC/ST candidate if reservations was not there. However, SC/ST dont want reservation if people from general cast treat them with respect & remove cheap mentality in their mind. Reservations comes from Discrimination, not discrimination comes from reservations. Jai Bhim.
  • RE: Caste or Income based Reservation- Which is Better? -Deepa Kaushik (11/24/15)
  • I belong to the category who stand with the talented. Reserve seats for the true talents and not for anything else. We are practically experiencing that the caste system has left back the creamy layer and it has led to brain-drain. we have already got a big jerk losing much of our cream who are working for some other country and getting good emoluments for the same.

    Now, we are talking of reservation based on income. What is the surety that the poor income group parents have good talents in their children. and how can be just overlook a talented individual belonging to a high income group category. If this becomes the scenario, how are we going to get benefitted ewith such a reservation? The high income group having good talent would very easily fly away and search a better livelihood abroad. An approach to add to the prevailing brain-drain.

    Reservation is not going to benefit the nation. We have crossed the era when people were rejected employment due to their caste or income or anything else. If at all such a case occurs, the victim can approach legally and justice is better in these cases so far in our country. The country would develop onlyif the reservations are altogether abolished and the talent gets recognition.

    If at all we are so much behind reservation, then we should ideally reserve seats for non-corrupt individuals. Corruption is the root-cause of many problems prevalent in our country. Reserve seats for non-corrupt. A ray of hope that people might leave this poison named corruption in lieu of reservation.

    Debates could be many, points could be any in favour and against; but for the country to prosper we need to recognize and reserve seats for the true talents.