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November 08, 2022 10:16 pm | Updated November 09, 2022 11:43 am IST – Bengaluru
Providing 10% EWS quota to five communities that make up an estimated 4% of the State’s population will mean reservation of about 2.5 times more than their entire population. | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K
Karnataka presents a unique challenge for the implementation of 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), as only five communities that make up an estimated 4% of the State’s population are presently not eligible for any reservation, making them, thereby, eligible for EWS quota.
In Karnataka, five communities — Brahmin, Jain, Aryavaishya, Nagarthas and Modaliars — are outside the existing reservation matrix. As the majority judgment of the apex court has upheld the Union government’s move to exclude all communities that are eligible for any kind of reservation elsewhere from the EWS quota, only these five communities will be eligible for the EWS quota in Karnataka.
Unlike in other States, even religious minorities such as Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Digambara Jains, besides Lingayats and Vokkaligas, come under the purview of reservation in the State under the 32% OBC quota. Over 95% of the State’s population are covered by the present reservation matrix.
Speaking of the five communities, C.S. Dwarakanath, former chairman of Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes (KSCBC), said that these are the communities that have failed the test of backwardness, devised by the Havanur Commission. “Providing 10% EWS quota to these communities will mean reservation of about 2.5 times more than their entire population,” he said.
“The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have been given reservation in proportion to their population only recently and 32% reservation for OBCs is less than half of their estimated population. In that scenario, providing forward castes reservation many times more than their population is a mockery of social justice,” argued Prof. Ravi Verma Kumar, another former chairman of KSCBC.
There is also opposition to the idea of reservation on economic criteria itself. “Karnataka is the first State to implement any kind of affirmative action as far back as 1874, after the first census of 1872 showed the preponderance of Brahmins in public administration. Given that history and the fact that EWS quota is only an enabling provision and not mandatory on the States, it will be a travesty to provide Brahmins, who will be the main beneficiaries of EWS quota, reservation many times their population will be an injustice,” said Prof. Kumar.
Even if the State government goes ahead and implements the EWS quota, it needs to be proportional to the population of the communities eligible for that quota, former chairpersons of KSCBC argue. Experts also point out that providing 10% reservation for EWS among five forward communities that make up 4% of the State’s population, where income levels also disqualify many, will practically end up in unfilled seats in education institutions.
Karnataka / Bangalore / poverty / social problems / social issue / Caste / Socio Economic And Caste Census / religion and belief / tribals / population
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To enjoy additional benefits