Panel to assess conditions of BCs

Bangalore Nov. 10. The Karnataka State Backward Classes Commission has initiated a Statewide study to assess whether the educational and economic conditions of the backward classes have improved as a result of the utilisation of the several schemes meant for them and to consider if more needs to be done.

As part of the study, the commission has sent questionnaires to deputy commissioners, chief executive officers of local bodies, and organisations representing backward classes to elicit their views on the schemes and find out whether the benefits have reached the targeted groups and, if so, the extent of improvement in terms of their social and educational advancement.

The commission, headed by S. Muniraju, has set a time limit of 15 days for the officers and the institutions to reply to the comprehensive questionnaire. The assessment to be taken up by it immediately afterwards is expected to assist the commission in undertaking a review of the list of backward classes.

Under a direction of the Supreme Court, the list of backward classes is to be reviewed after ten years and the first such review is due in 2004.

One of the main functions of the national and State backward classes commissions is to review the list.

A Statewide survey will precede the review to exclude from the list those classes which have ceased to be backward, or for including new ones, depending upon the social and educational achievement of each caste, sub-caste, tribe, sub-tribe, or groups.

According to sources, the commission has sought a matching grant from the Union Ministry of Human Resources sometime ago for a survey which was expected to cost Rs. 15 crore.

The commission also plans a survey in a couple of districts, but it is yet to decide which districts.

The sources said the commission will submit its report on the inclusion of synonyms in the list of backward classes before the end of December without waiting till the expiry of its term as is normally done. This is to obviate hardship to genuine categories which deserve to be included.

The commission heard the groups concerned last month and had initiated efforts to get the matter cross-checked before taking a decision on the plea for inclusion in the backward classes list, they added.

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