Some medical students in India are angry because the government wants to raise quotas for students from lower castes. Rob Hallifax reports
- By: Rob Hallifax
“Quotas: this cure is worse than the disease,” stated the poster on the wall of the medical students' hostel. Little did I realise on arriving for my obstetrics and gynaecology attachment in January that the hospital and medical school in Delhi would be at the centre of a big political dispute. The campaigning group Youth for Equality had put up similar posters around the All India Institute of Medical Sciences campus, declaring their opposition to the “increase in reservation quotas.”
Most students and junior doctors had been active in recent strikes at the hospital. The reason was the Indian government's decision to raise the number of places at medical schools that are reserved for students from lower castes, reducing the general allocation of places that is based solely on performance in exams (box).
Although this concept already exists, increasing reserved places to include people from “other backwards castes”–further lower caste