Quota in jobs and education for Scheduled Castes and Tribes has been increased in Karnataka through an executive order. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai made the announcement today, saying the “historic decision” would “shine into their lives and uplift them by providing adequate opportunity”.
“Today my cabinet has taken an historic decision of approving the ordinance on hiking the reservation for my brothers and sisters from SC/ST community, from 15% to 17% and 3% to 7%,” Bommai said in a series of tweets.
Today my cabinet has taken an historic descision of approving the ordinance on hiking the reservation for my brothers and sisters from SC/ST community,
— Basavaraj S Bommai (@BSBommai) October 20, 2022
The decision, however, will push reservation in the state across the 50 per cent cap imposed by the Supreme Court. The total percentage of reservation in the state will now be 56 per cent.
This is why the government opted for an executive order instead of taking the legislation route. The Law and Parliamentary Affairs minister had told the local media that there could have been “issues” if the bill came up in the assembly.
The state’s Scheduled Tribes Welfare Minister B Sriramulu has said that to ensure legal protection for the quota hike, the state government will “recommend bringing it under the 9th Schedule of the Constitution”.
The state cabinet had green-lighted the quota hike on October 8. It was a key move for the Bommai government, which has been facing an avalanche of corruption allegations from the opposition. Assembly elections are due in the state next year, in which the BJP is hoping for a second term.
The state BJP has been battling speculation that Bommai may be replaced in the run-up to the election.
Following the quota hike decision for SC/STs, the dominant Vokkaliga community in the state scaled up their demand for an increase in reservation for them from 4 per cent to 12 per cent.
Bommai said the decision to hike SC/ST quota is being interpreted in many ways but “it is important that SC/ST communities have welcomed this decision”.
“The Congress ruled the country for seven decades by talking of social justice in speeches. The demand to hike reservation is 50 years old and the Congress leaders were not having time to see the condition of SC/STs. The previous coalition government constituted the Justice Nagamohan Das Commission, but our government showed the commitment to implement this historic decision,” he added.
With inputs from NDTV