Following vocal demands from Vokkaligas and Lingayats, the Karnataka government on Thursday (29 December) decided to re-categorise these communities within the Other Backward Class (OBC) fold.
The two dominant communities are now categorised as "moderately backward" from the "backward" category.
The step follows demands from a Panchamasali sub-sect of Veerashavia Lingayats, who have demanded inclusion in the 2A category which has a 15 per cent quota from their present 3B category which has a 5 per cent quota.
Further, Vokkaligas would now be included in the newly created 2C category with 4 per cent reservation. Veerashavia Lingayats will now be in a newly created 2D category with 5 per cent reservation. The existing categories of 3A and 3B are being done away with.
The decision is based on the recommendations of the Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes, which submitted an interim report on 23 December
Currently, Karnataka has 32 per cent quota for OBCs, along with 17 per cent each for SCs and STs, taking the total to 56 per cent, above the mandated 50 per cent limit. OBC reservations in Karnataka are spread across five categories — Category 1 (4 per cent), Category 2A (15 per cent), Category 2B (4 per cent), Category 3A (4 per cent) and Category 3B (5 per cent).
The excess reservations might be adjusted with the EWS reservations, with Vokkaligas and Lingayats getting their share within the EWS category.
Lingayats (17 per cent) are considered to be the most populous community of the state, followed by Vokkaligas (14 per cent). The new categories do not affect reservations for other communities.
The move comes ahead of upcoming assembly elections expected to take in April-May 2023.
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