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Quota system, Communist ruled states in India

Dark Clouds Descend on India

By Ron Banerjee
Friday, June 2, 2006

Medical students and practitioners have launched massive strikes and protests in India lately. For a notion of what the fuss is about, consider the following stories.

In 2005, the NY Times reported that a patient undergoing routine cataract surgery in a hospital within the 'worker's paradise' of Communist ruled West Bengal, India, died when ants ate her eyeballs following the procedure. This ghastly incident is an example of shoddy medical treatment offered in leftist and Communist ruled states in India.

Amazingly, India is routinely feted as having the best medical professionals and facilities in the world. Time magazine devoted many pages recently to medical tourism in Asia, and 60 Minutes last year profiled the tens of thousands of American and British residents who fly annually to India and receive the most complex treatment for bargain prices.

This dichotomy is present in every sphere in India. The private sector, a few select educational institutions like the elite IITs and states like Gujarat, which emphasize merit over quotas, prosper and provide the world's highest caliber doctors, engineers, and professionals of all stripes. By contrast, populist leftist leaders like the former Laloo Yadav who court Muslims and lower castes, have rendered infrastructure and development in basket cases like Bihar state equivalent to sub Saharan Africa.

India's economy provides ample merit based advancement opportunity for all minorities.

The wealthiest community in India is the Zoroastrian minority, which fled Islamic oppression in Iran for sanctuary in India. Jains also enjoy higher than average incomes and enormous success. All of these groups prospered without quotas or special privileges.

The dark cloud which mars India has always been favoritism which populist governments use to win votes from minorities, like Muslims, and supposedly 'underprivileged' castes. The 'caste system' is a myth: employment discrimination based on caste has not existed for decades. Successive leftist regimes, in the all-consuming goal of courting votes, falsely used the bogey of caste discrimination to impose ridiculous quotas for 'backward castes' in public universities and government employment. Currently, quotas range from 22.5% in federal institutions to as high as 60% in states such as Tamil Nadu.

These discriminatory and unsuccessful quotas succeeded in driving away the best Indian professionals to more welcoming shores, especially America. India's brain drain was reversed in the last decade for a few reasons: government loosened investment laws, and the resulting flood of private sector investment (quota free and merit based) created an economic boom. The pro-business pragmatic BJP government which ruled in the late 1990s stoked economic growth and contained self-destructive populism.

The current leftist federal government, keen on currying minority votes, will reverse this progress by increasing quotas by another 27% in universities and public firms. This additional reservation will increase the quota in federal government institutions to 50% and will result in obscene levels in some states such as Tamil Nadu, where up to 87% of seats will be reserved for the "so called" lower castes. These ruinous quotas may be extended to private sector firms later. This constitutes the beginning slide which will lead to the destruction of India's economic miracle, and wiping out billions of dollars of foreign investment in India.

This issue is not just a domestic Indian affair: as the intellectual economies of the West and India have become entwined, we have a vested interest in ensuring that the excellence in products and services that our economies need continues to be developed. Every major American firm, especially in technology, today is critically dependent on Indian talent to provide cutting edge design and innovation, not just low-end services.

Destruction of the Indian jewel will drag down the entire global economy along with India, and considerably weaken American competitiveness and innovation, especially compared to China. The Congress-led Indian government, which relies on a coalition with Communist parties for support, will go down in history as the most destructive regime to ever rule India.

Ron Banerjee is the director of the Hindu Conference of Canada. He can be reached at [email protected].