Poor Brahmins, Vaishyas to come under BC bracket before LS polls

Govt mulls over amending law for the purpose

The Congress government has decided to bring economically weaker Brahmins and Vaishyas under the backward classes bracket and extend benefits to them under various welfare schemes, much before the next year’s Lok Sabha elections.

Once the caste census is completed in the State, legal status will be given for these two castes to bring them within the backward classes bracket for reservation purposes by amending the relevant law. The census work is yet to begin, though preparations are over.

Social Welfare Minister H Anjaneya told Deccan Herald that there are economically poor people in all castes, including in socially forward communities such as Brahmins.

“I have seen the poorest of the poor in this particular caste. I have seen poor Brahmin families committing suicide for being unable to lead a respectable life due to lack of money or employment. Majority of them are not land holders. They can’t take up daily wage work. It is the duty of the government to help the poor irrespective of their caste,” he said.

Asked whether the measure was being planned keeping the elections in mind, the minister said, “We will issue a government order to bring these two castes under the backward classes at the earliest. Economic criteria will be the parameter to give benefits under various schemes.”

Rejig, an option

The minister said, in Karnataka, reservation does not exceed 50 per cent, whereas it is 69 per cent in Tamil Nadu. The government would not hesitate to rejig the percentage of reservation for various categories to accommodate two more castes, though it is a fact that no caste would like to lose its quota. Reservation could be revised after analysing the caste census data which would be available probably next year.

A sum of Rs 100 crore is available with his department for the caste census work and in all probability, the work would begin in April next, he said.

It is learnt that the Congress government is not rushing with the census, as N Shankarappa, a BJP man, is heading the Backward Classes Commission as chairman.
This is not the first time in the State that reservation facility has been given for castes which do not come under the backward classes.

As per the Havnoor Commission recommendations, five per cent reservation was given by creating the ‘Special Category of Backward Classes’ under which certain forward castes were covered.

This was in vogue from 1977 to 1983, according to M S Helwar, senior advocate and member of the Permanent Backward Classes Commission.

However, Shankarappa said that at present the reservation was drawn based on socio-economic background and just the economic backwardness can’t be considered for giving facilities in the absence of defined parameters.

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