ST reservation hike: CM BSY asks panel for early report

A delegation of Valmiki community, led by Prasannananda Swami, submits a memorandum to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa in Bengaluru on Monday. DCM Govind Karjol, Health Minister B Sriramulu, MLAs Raju Gouda and Satish Jarkiholi are seen. DH PHOTO

Under pressure from the Scheduled Tribes (ST) community, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Monday said he will expedite decision-making on their proposal seeking a reservation hike by asking the Justice Nagmohan Das Commission to submit its report early.

The Valmiki community has demanded that the reservation for ST be hiked from 3% to 7.5% and has mounted pressure on the government with Health Minister B Sriramulu among other leaders from the community taking the initiative. 

The previous Congress-JD(S) coalition, at the fag end of its tenure, constituted the Justice Nagmohan Das Commission to look into this. 

A delegation, led by Prasannananda Swami of Valmiki Gurupeetha and comprising legislators across party lines, met Yediyurappa to reiterate the demand for hike in reservation. Besides Sriramulu, the delegation also had BJPs Ramesh Jarkiholi, Narasimha Nayak (Raju Gouda), Bellary MP Devendrappa, Congress’ Satish Jarkiholi, B Nagendra and J N Ganesh among others. 

“The Nagmohan Das Commission has sought six months time. If the report comes early, the government will consider taking action. I will ask the commission to give the report as early as possible,” Yediyurappa told the delegation, according to a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office. All government departments will be directed to share whatever data the Commission requires, the CM added. 

“We submitted a petition to the CM on our demand to hike the reservation to 7.5%. The CM has assured us and we’re confident it’ll be done,” Prasannananda Swami told reporters. “As per the 2011 Census, the SC/ST population is 24.1%. It’s been 10 years now and the population would have increased. So, our demand is that the reservation should be hiked in line with the population of the STs,” he added. 

At present, Karnataka has 15% reservation for SC, 3% for ST and 32% for the other backward classes (OBC). The reservation is provided for 101 Scheduled Castes, 50 Scheduled Tribes and 207 OBCs including Muslims, Christians and Jains. Hiking the ST reservation will, however, breach the 50% ceiling for quotas set by the Supreme Court.

The Valmikis are also mounting pressure for someone from their community be appointed as the deputy chief minister. Sriramulu and Ramesh Jarkiholi, both Valmikis, were promised to be made deputies. “We haven’t suggested anybody’s name, but we’ve been asking for a deputy CM post for our community,” the pontiff said. 

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