Here is a much publicized interview of Arjun Singh by Karan Thapar.
It makes for interesting reading and makes the minister appear(?) stupid. He mostly has no coherent answers to any of the questions put forward by Karan, and worse he ends up doubting cold numbers, often coming from credible sources, when he cant defend his or the government's stand. That's expected though - considering our politicians are hardly the most qualified people - but even then, some of the comments actually are pretty hilarious.
He starts off with -
Arjun Singh: I wouldn't like to say much more on this because these are decisions that are taken not by individuals alone. And in this case, the entire Parliament of this country - almost with rare anonymity - has decided to take this decision.
A quick check verifies, anonymity : n- the state of being anonymous.
So we have to believe, as implied by the senior minister that the Parliament secretly decided to implement this? Who were they hiding from? And why they needed to be surreptitious? I always thought you needed to be anonymous when you are afraid to come out with your name, like those offensive postings on the discussion forums!
Defends his actions with -
Arjun Singh: Because as I said, that was the 'will and desire of the Parliament'.
Now only if that meant the wish of the majority of the people!
And finally admits -
Karan Thapar: I want very much to talk about that formula, but before we come to talk about how you are going to address concerns, let me point one other corollary - Reservations also gives preference and favour to caste over merit. Is that acceptable in a modern society?
Arjun Singh: I don't think the perceptions of modern society fit India entirely.
Now that he acknowledges it, and I read somewhere that his grandson studies in Harvard, it all makes sense. Does not it?
And as someone pointed it out to me , the idea of increasing the percentage of quota and then compensating the general students by increasing total number of seats is almost a mathematical impossibilty. Lets think of an oversimplified example, where the total number of seats is 100 and the prevelant SC/ST etc quota adds upto 30%. So we had 70 seats for us - now if the total quota in increased to 50% - that means we lose 20 seats. If now the idea is to increase 20 seats for us - that pushes back the quota to 50/120 or 41%. So the only way to give back 70 seats to us is make the number of total seats 140, which is almost and one and half fold increase - and effectively adding new 40 seats to quota, while our seats stay the same. I wonder how many institutes have the infrastructure to absorb that many new students without letting the quality of education drop - and at the end we would be the victims again!