The Karnataka government on Friday announced two new categories for reservation in jobs and education and scrapped the 4 per cent quota for Other Backward Classes (OBC) Muslims. The announcement by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai comes just a month before assembly election is scheduled to be held in the BJP-ruled state.
The 4 per cent OBC Muslim quota has been divided between the Vokkaligas and Lingayats. Muslims eligible for quota have been categorised under economically weaker sections now.
The decision, however, pushes reservation percentage in Karnataka, which is already over the 50 per cent cap imposed by the Supreme Court, to approximately 57 per cent now.
"We have taken some important decisions," Mr Bommai told reporters today. "A cabinet sub-committee recommended the changes in quota categories and we have done it," he said.
Mr Bommai said backward classes have been reorganised into two sets - "more backward and most backward classes".
One of the two new categories is that the quota for Vokkaligas has been raised from 5 per cent to 7 per cent. The quota for the other category, which has Panchamasalis, Veerashaivas and other Lingayats, has also been increased from 5 per cent to 7 per cent.
A request to bring back the reservation percentage to below 50 per cent, the cap imposed by the Supreme Court, is pending in the Karnataka High Court.
According to the Chief Minister, the changes in the quota percentage break-up now are as follows: Scheduled Castes (SC) Left 6 per cent, SC Right 5.5 per cent, other castes 4.5 per cent, and others 1 per cent.
Earlier, the quota break-up were as follows: Category 1 (Backward Classes) 4 per cent, Category 2A (Other Backward Classes, or OBCs) 15 per cent, Category 2B (Muslims) 4 per cent, Category 3A (Vokkaligas) 4 per cent, Category 3B (Lingayats including Panchamshali Lingayat, Marathas, Bunts, Christians) 5 per cent, SC 15 per cent, and Scheduled Tribes (ST) 3 per cent. This made a total quota percentage of 50 per cent, the cap imposed by the Supreme Court.
After the latest cabinet decision, the overall quota percentage is at 56 per cent, over the Supreme Court-imposed limit. The break-up is hence as follows: Category 1 (Backward Classes) 4 per cent, Category 2A (OBCs) 15 per cent, Category 2B none, Category 2C (Vokkaligas) 6 per cent, Category 2D (Lingayats including Panchamshali Lingayats, Marathas, Bunts, Christians) 7 per cent, SC 17 per cent and ST 7 per cent. Total is 56 per cent.