EWS quota question to be top priority for BC panel

Even as the State is seeing a spurt in caste groups pushing for various demands, the Karnataka State Backward Classes Commission is set to start an exercise to consider how the 10% quota for the economically weaker sections (EWS) of the General category can be brought into the current reservation matrix.

While the Centre brought in a constitutional amendment last year by inserting Articles 15(6) and 16(6) to make EWS from General category eligible for 10% reservation in education and employment, it told the Supreme Court this February that the decision rested with State governments.

“The chairperson to the commission has been appointed after over a year to study how this reservation can be implemented in the current matrix, which has a cap of 50%,” a senior official in the Backward Classes Department said. “Not only are EWS to be considered for reservation, but transgenders also should be considered as Backward Classes (BC) for reservation.”

He added that there was a lot of pressure to appoint a chairperson since a report by the commission in this regard had to be submitted by the chairperson to the government.

The new chairperson, K. Jayaprakash Hegde, who took charge recently, will have to submit the report to the government at the earliest.

“The matter needs a thorough study as there are differences between what is being implemented in the State and the Centre. For example, the entrance examinations for many professional courses earlier conducted by the State are now being conducted by the Centre. These are to be studied before a recommendation is made,” a top source in the commission said.

When contacted by The Hindu, Mr. Hegde acknowledged the issue and said he would start that work shortly.

Leaders take exception

Meanwhile, some leaders have taken exception to the hurry in which caste-specific corporations are being set up and heads appointed to them without taking into account the larger reservation issue.

P.R. Ramesh, Congress MLC, said such bodies were being formed without any ethnographic study and only as an election tool. In his letter to the Chief Secretary, he pointed out that boards and corporations were being formed in the midst of the reservation issue, which had to be discussed first.


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