M.C. Venugopal submits memorandum to Parliamentary Committee

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee’s Other Backward Classes wing chief M.C. Venugopal has in a memorandum to the Parliamentary Committee for the Welfare of the OBCs, New Delhi, urged it to take up with the National Commission for Backward Classes of the Union government the job of classifying them as backward and more backward to protect them from the “powerful backward classes” that have allegedly been garnering bulk of the reservation benefits.

Mr. Venugopal, who met the committee members here recently, said that the Supreme Court, in its judgment on the Mandal Commission Report, observed that there was no bar for classifying the OBCs into backward and more backward based on their social and educational backwardness. He said that the smaller and unrepresented castes had been left in the lurch for decades.

Thanking Congress president Sonia Gandhi for enacting the OBCs Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, Right to Education Act and ordering a caste census, he said that these measures would empower the OBCs, who formed 52 per cent of the population, to a great extent. He said that the OBCs had been given only 27 per cent reservation, citing the 50 per cent bar on reservation by the Supreme Court. He said that the Union government had made a provision under Article 338A ensuring rights for Scheduled Tribes who constitute eight per cent of the population in the country, and urged the committee to bring it to the notice of the government and enact relevant law.

On the caste census, he said that the enumerators had failed to record castes and their occupation correctly without which the backwardness of an individual could not be determined. The KPCC had received complaints about this.

He said that there were 2,000 castes among the OBCs in 1993 when the OBCs list was published by the Union government, but it had risen to 5,000, as many belonging to other smaller OBCs had submitted their memoranda to the governments. He asked the committee whether the government could amend the Constitution to increase reservation exceeding 50 per cent.

The KPCC suggested that of the 27 per cent reservation, 60 and 40 per cent posts and other benefits could be given to men and women, respectively among the OBCs. He sought reservation in the private sector about which the Congress/United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre had committed to them in the recent years and said it should be extended to the legislature too.

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