‘Havanur Commission changed lives of OBCs’

‘Politically powerful castes have benefited from it’

January 07, 2023 09:26 pm | Updated 09:26 pm IST - Haveri

Jayaprakash Hegde, chairman, Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes, speaking in Haveri on Saturday.

Jayaprakash Hegde, chairman, Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes, speaking in Haveri on Saturday. | Photo Credit: SANJAY RITTI

Jayaprakash Hegde, chairman, Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes and former Minister, said that the lives of the Backward Classes in Karnataka had drastically improved due to the implementation of the Karnataka Backward Classes Commission headed by L.G. Havanur in 1972. Even some of the OBC castes that have become politically powerful are beneficiaries of the Havanur Commission, he said.

He was speaking on `50 years of L.G. Havanur Commission’ at the session on the status of reports of commissions on Kannada and Karnataka.

Mr. Hegde urged the Union and State governments to address issues like the problems faced by native Indian language speakers in government offices. “In most villages, officers in offices or banks ask people to speak in English or Hindi. That is nearly impossible for the common man to do so. In some areas like Canara districts that were part of the Madras presidency, some officers ask people to obtain their original caste certificates from Tamil Nadu. How can such demands be entertained? The government should address such issues,” he stressed.  

He spoke in detail about the life and contribution of Mr. Havanur, who hailed from Ranebennur taluk in Haveri district. He not only served as a professor of law and legislator, but also as chairman of the commission and a Cabinet minister. With hard work and due diligence, he produced a report that is considered pioneering work not only in India, but also across the world. He was invited by Nelson Mandela, as a consultant to the committee to redraft the constitution of South Africa, Mr. Hegde said.

Mr. Havanur introduced a scientific formula to assess the social and educational backwardness of any community, which is widely accepted now.

To compile the report, Mr. Havanur and his team visited over 200 villages and interviewed over 3.55 lakh people in the State. The team used parameters like education and employment levels, infrastructure facilities consumed by the community, housing and other amenities available , social status, leadership vacuum and other factors. These laid the basis for similar assessments in various states. Even the Mandal Commission authors said they had used the Havanur Commission as a starting point.

Mr. Havanur not only recommended reservation quotas for groups of various OBC communities, but also advocated the need for reservation in KPSC, and other agencies. He insisted on introducing the caste column in school certificates as it was to identity children from backward communities. He also recommended the establishment of Backward Class hostels, that ended up benefitting millions across the State over the decades, Mr. Hegde said.

The Havanur Commission recommended reservation quotas in post graduate education and research and asked the government to send Backward Class students on foreign trips for higher education. He spoke of exempting all school and college fees for children from families with an annual income of ₹6,000. It was the result of commission’s recommendations that the Backward Classes Development Corporation was established. The commission also recommended that young people who get the benefits from the corporation should pay back 10% of their income to the corporation once they were settled in life. The Devaraj Urs Research Centre on Backward Classes and other such institutions were also the result of Havanur Commission recommendation, he said.

Mr. Hegde said that the after going through the report, then CM Devaraj Urs decided to induct Mr. Havanur in the Cabinet. That ensured that the commission report was properly implemented. This shows the practical wisdom and farsightedness of Mr. Urs, he said. In later years, the courts upheld the Havanur Commission Report as it was found scientific and comprehensive, Mr. Hegde said.

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