Siddaramaiah looks to hike reservation to 70 per cent in poll-bound Karnataka
Eyes set on the upcoming assembly elections, "populist" Chief Minister of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah, is all set to hike reservation to 70 per cent. The move, according to the government, will benefit people from backward classes, Scheduled castes, and scheduled tribes. The push for hike in quota for OBCs, SC/STs comes despite the Supreme Court's reiteration that reservation should not exceed 50 per cent.
During Valmiki Jayanthi celebrations, Siddaramaiah told the media that his government was all for hiking reservation on the lines of how Tamil Nadu has allowed 69 per cent quota. The hike, according to the Chief Minister, will be based on the outcome of the socio-economic survey which is yet to be tabled and made public.
" The government has decided to increase reservation to OBC, SC/STs to 70 per cent based on the socio-economic survey. The move is not for votes but is aimed at fulfilling the government's responsibility to protect everyone's interest," Siddaramaiah said.
He added that the state will follow Tamil Nadu's example of hiking reservation by incorporating it in the 9th schedule of the Constitution. "People from SC/ST communities in Karnataka do not get adequate representations compared to the population. The government has hence, decided to set the anomalies right by enhancing quota," he added.
The government hopes to increase total reservation to 70 per cent within which SCs would get 17 per cent quota as against the current 15. STs would get 7.5 per cent from the current 3 per cent. Keeping in mind that AHINDA- Siddaramaiah's sold vote bank of minorities, backward classes, and Dalits- will be the Congress' greatest strenght in the upcoming elections, Siddaramaiah highlighted that his government has so far spent Rs 25,000 crore on the communities' welfare. This year, the government has earmarked Rs 7,000 crore for welfare schemes of OBCs, SC/STs.
The push for hike in quota is being made despite the Supreme Court clearly stating that the total reservation for SC/ST and other backward classes or special categories should not exceed 50 per cent. Bench of Justices C.K. Thakker and D.K. Jain had reiterated the judgment in the Indra Sawhney (I) (Mandal case), said there are two types of reservation: (i) vertical reservation; and (ii) horizontal reservation. They must be so applied as not to exceed 50 per cent reservation permissible under law. This can be done by 'interlocking reservation.'