Karnataka

Vokkaliga development board to be set up

A file photo of a gathering at Kuruba community convention in Bengaluru.  

The State Budget has come under criticism for creating more caste-based development corporations and making large budgetary allocations to corporations of ‘upper’ castes, even as the SC/ST sub-plans have shrunk.

The Budget announced the formation of a Vokkaliga development board, a demand the community had voiced after the government recently formed the Veerashaiva-Lingayat development board. The Budget announced a grant of ₹500 crore for the board. The government had announced the same amount for Veerashaiva-Lingayat board. The two communities have been demanding a bigger share in the reservation pie. Meanwhile, Brahmin Development Board has been allocated ₹50 crore.

This, even as the budget makes a total allocation of ₹500 crore for 16 other development corporations that work for specific communities such as Marathas, Bhovi, Madiwala, Uppara, and other 206 OBC communities. Not just that, Scheduled Caste Sub-plan – Scheduled Tribes Sub-plan has shrunk considerably — pegged at ₹26,005 crore — even as the overall Budget outlay has expanded. It has shrunk from ₹26,614 crore in 2020–21 — of which ₹5,170 crore was sought to be diverted to other expenses. Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said in the Budget speech that this was owing to an increase in committed expenditure such as salaries and pensions from ₹1.29 lakh crore in 2020–21 to ₹1.42 lakh crore in 2021–22. However, the Chief Minister later told reporters that the outlay for the sub-plans would be maintained at the last year’s level.

‘Appeasing upper castes’

C.S. Dwarakanath, former chairman, Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes, said, “The Chief Minister seems to have devised a new way of making budgetary allocations to communities. Instead of caste mutts, he is now creating caste-based government bodies for upper castes and making generous doles to them.” The government seems to be appeasing ‘upper’ castes at the cost of backward castes, he said.

Reviving Natha heritage at Adichunchanagiri

The State government has given a grant-in-aid of ₹10 crore for establishing ‘Adichunchanagiri Natha Heritage Centre’ at Adichunchanagiri Kshetra, which has a large following of Vokkaligas, in Mandya district.

The Adichunchanagiri Mutt, belongs to the Natha tradition. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, also from the tradition, stays at the mutt whenever he visits the State. Though the mutt belongs to the Natha tradition, Vokkaliga seers have headed it for over half a century now, and thus it has acquired a large following in the community.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 11:28:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/vokkaliga-development-board-to-be-set-up/article34023768.ece

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