In a move to appease the Dalit communities ahead of the 2018 state elections, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah made a call for increasing the reservation quota for scheduled castes and tribes in the state.
Talking to the media, Siddaramaiah said that his government is working towards seeking an amendment in the Constitution by increasing the reservation upto 70% for SC, ST and OBC groups in both educational institutions and public services, in line with the reservation pattern followed in Tamil Nadu.
Speaking outside the Vidhana Soudha during Valmiki Jayanti celebrations, he said:
The Supreme Court has directed that reservation should not exceed 50%. The Tamil Nadu reservation is in contrast to this. It has fixed reservation for these communities at 69%. We will follow that model and seek a Constitutional amendment.
The Congress leader added that his government was aiming to increase the reservation limit in order to encourage the participation of Dalit youths in all spheres of life:
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I am not doing this for the sake of votes. I am doing this to ensure social justice to the communities which have suffered for so long. The Karnataka government had allotted Rs 7,000 crore for the welfare of the SC/STs for the present financial year.Advertisement
The Backward Classes Commission has conducted a socio-economic survey and based on findings of this commission, the government has decided to increase the quota to 70%. Our government has spent Rs 25,000 crore on welfare schemes for SCs and STs.
He also disclosed about plans to hold a massive SC rally in Ballari district, which would discuss the issues faced by the people belonging to the backward castes and communities.
It is to be noted that despite Supreme Court orders to keep reservation within 50%, the Tamil Nadu government has kept reservations at 69%. Since Tamil Nadu had managed to get the amendment done in Schedule 9 back in 1994 – the Schedule 9 being a list of laws brought in by the various state governments, which are exempted from any type of judicial overview – the reservation pattern of the state cannot be challenged by anyone by law.
However, unlike Tamil Nadu, the Karnataka government does not have the approval of the Supreme Court to increase reservation quota.