India seen as 'backward,' preoccupied with caste | india | Hindustan Times
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India seen as 'backward,' preoccupied with caste

The SA chief of The Economist, said the policy of reservation could create huge problems for the business world.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2006 17:09 IST

Providing quotas for the socially underprivileged makes the West look at India as a "backward" country preoccupied with caste and also suspect the quality of its education system, says Simon Long, the author of 'A survey of business in India'.

Reservation is "bad in two ways... It gives an impression of a backward and inward looking India preoccupied with caste ... As far as expanding seats in education institutes to make everyone happy, its hard for people outside to believe its being done without compromising on quality," he said.

Long, who is the South Asia Bureau Chief of The Economist, said this policy of reservation could create huge problems for the business world, which explains the strong criticism from the industry to such a policy.

The Indian industry is already facing a crunch of skilled technical workforce, the survey pointed out.

In principle, it is easy to talk about reservation but it is difficult to practice it, Long said, while noting that affirmative action has worked in the West.

He suggested that New Delhi should create an environment for private capital to deliver education, health and other services.

Long's comments come in the wake of the government proposing to provide 27 per cent reservation to Other Backward Classes in higher education institutes, which would take the total quota for the underprivileged to 49.5 per cent.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also asked the industry to implement affirmative action, even as an official committee has mooted bringing in a legislation to make private sector provide job quotas for the weaker sections.