Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday said the State government was actively considering opening a separate secretariat for the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes.
Speaking after inaugurating the Valmiki Jayanti celebrations at the Vidhana Soudha, Siddaramaiah said the government would consult legal experts on the possibility of increasing reservation quota for STs from the present three per cent to around 7.5 per cent, commensurate with their population. These demands were made by several speakers at event, including Congress leader V S Ugrappa, Siddaramaiah said, “At present, there is a cap of 50 per cent on reservations as per the directions of the Supreme Court. While the government is sympathetic to your demand, we have to consider the legalities,” he said.
Siddaramaiah said the State government would construct Valmiki Bhavans (convention centres) in all the 30 districts at a cost of Rs three crore each.
He said conducting a caste census had become inevitable to determine the economic status of each community in the State.
The result of the census would help in proper allocation of budgetary funds to ensure that the welfare schemes of the government reached the marginalised section. “I understand that caste system should be eradicated. But caste can be eliminated only when there is equality in society,” he said.
This year’s Valmiki Award was presented posthumously to Valmiki Gurupeetha Rajanahalli seer Poornanandapuri swami.
The award, which carries a cash prize of Rs two lakh, was received by Prasannanandapuri, the present seer of the Gurupeetha. The seer said the Congress high command should allow Siddaramaiah to complete his full tenure of five years as he had a genuine concern for the oppressed.
Union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises K H Muniyappa said the Centre was ready to sanction Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) for the ST students if the State government provided land. An EMRS will be opened at Srinivaspur in Kolar district shortly, he said.