Raichur/Kalaburagi: Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Monday said that the state government has been trying to increase job reservation for backward classes to 70% from the existing 50%.
Speaking at Devadurga, Raichur district—about 360km from Bengaluru—Siddaramaiah said the Congress is also trying to bring proportional representation in employment for backward classes including Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) to ensure social justice.
Siddaramaiah along with Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been touring districts in Hyderabad-Karnataka region, home to a large Lingayat and backward classes population, as part of the party’s Jana Aashirvad Yatra to mobilize support from the region for the upcoming assembly elections in the state. The leaders toured Raichur and Kalaburagi districts on Monday where Gandhi addressed public rallies, visited two famous Muslim shrines and interacted with business communities.
Referring to the yet-to-be released caste census data, Siddaramaiah said that the total population of SC/STs in the state was 24.1%. The 2015 caste census—the first since 1932—has not yet been released officially.
Siddaramaiah came to power in 2013 with the support of AHINDA (acronym for minorities, backward classes and Dalits).
“The total SC population is 17.5% and the total ST population is 6.95%. That is a total of 24.1%. But you are getting only 18% reservation," Siddaramaiah said. Karnataka has a reservation of 15% for SC and 3% for ST, which the chief minister said should be increased to 7%.
Heading into elections, the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government is highlighting the steps taken for the benefit of SC/ST and other backward communities, including reservation in public contracts, low interest rates on loans and providing higher opportunities for members of these communities.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also been trying to woo backward classes ahead of elections, scheduled to be held later this year.