Tamil Nadu

Vanniyars stand to lose more with internal reservation

With the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) reviving its long-standing demand for a 20% quota for the Vanniyars, there is a view in the State bureaucracy that the community stands to lose more than what it has now if the concept of internal reservation is implemented based on the community’s proportionate strength to the State’s overall population.

As the Vanniyars come under the Most Backward Classes (MBCs) and the De-notified Communities, both of which are earmarked 20% reservation, they are entitled to compete within the segment for education and employment. But if an exclusive quota is given to them, they will have to restrict themselves to the lesser segment. This is because the Vanniyars constitute around 13% of the population, an official said, citing the Ambasankar Commission’s report of 1985.

Barring the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the unreserved communities, the Backward Classes (BCs) and the MBCs account for 78% of the population. The BCs and the MBCs are accommodated within the 50% quota. Proportionately, the Vanniyars’ share will come down to 8.33%.

“When the community can now compete within the 20% quota for MBCs, why should it lower its eligibility by pitching in for internal reservation?” asked the official. It was for this reason that Christians, 10 years ago, got the government to withdraw its decision to give them a 3.5% exclusive quota within the BC fold, preferring instead to be treated as part of the overall BC’s share of 26.5%.

But protagonists of the idea of internal reservation say their demand is “reasonable” as the Vanniyars have not benefited much from the 20% quota for the MBCs in the last 30-odd years. PMK spokesperson K. Balu wants the government to make public the data on the recruitment of the Vanniyars to the State government services all these years. “This will bring to the fore how we are inadequately represented in the government services,” he said, adding that the principle of elasticity in reservation could be applied to the community, as was done for the Arundathiyars, for overcoming the issue of limiting the eligibility.

C. N. Ramamurthy, founder-president of the Vanniyar Federation and the petitioner in a case on internal reservation at the Madras High Court, said the State Backward Classes Commission, after being asked by the government to study the issue in March 2012 in the light of his petition, had refused to share with him its findings on the ground that they were “confidential”.

Asked about the Commission’s recommendation, the official confirms that there was a divided opinion within the panel on the internal reservation for Vanniyars. As for the government’s move to establish a body for compiling data on the caste breakdown, the official pointed out that though the Karnataka government had commissioned a socio-economic survey or caste census in April 2015, it was yet to release the data.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 9:26:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/vanniyars-stand-to-lose-more-with-internal-reservation/article33261067.ece

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