Quota for poor among forward communities won't affect others eligible for reservation: Pinarayi

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. File photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has assured that the 10 percent reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) among the forward communities will not affect in anyway the existing quota of other communities.

The decision of the CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala to implement 10 per cent reservation in government jobs for the poor among forward communities has apparently created sharp divisions among the caste, religious and political organisations in the state. The 103rd Constitution Amendment of 2019 by the Central government envisages 10% reservation for them in government jobs and educational institutions.

Backing the EWS quota, the CM said one section among the communities otherwise ineligible for reservation is in abject poverty.

They are not getting any reservation benefits. This situation had led to the introduction of 10% reservation for the economically weaker sections among forward communities, Pinarayi said on Saturday.

The chief minister was inaugurating the state-level sample survey to identify the financially weaker sections among the forward communities.

Vijayan explained the other communities, including Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes have altogether 50% reservation at the moment. Granting 10% reservation to the economically weaker sections among forward communities is aimed at providing a helping hand to this section. This 10% reservation won't impinge on the existing 50% quota for other categories as the latter benefit is still intact and will continue.

The chief minister said there should not be any strife between reserved and non-reserved categories. On the other hand both should stand together to fight against the economic and social deprivation across the country.

He alerted that those forces which want to use reservation as an emotional issue and divide the society are actually trying to conceal the real problems.

Survey commences

The survey to identify the financially weaker among the forward communities began on Saturday.

The government has entrusted Kudumbashree with the task of conducting a sample survey for identifying five economically weaker families among the forward communities in each ward.

A total of 164 communities fall have been identified as forward communities in Kerala. The criteria for availing EWS reservation is Rs 4 lakh annual income.

NSS boycotts

The Nair Services Society (NSS) had earlier informed the government that they would boycott the Saturday's meeting of the representatives of forward communities.

The NSS has been raising the demand for reservation for economically weaker sections among forward communities for the past several decades. However, the organisation is against the mode of survey and for entrusting the Kudumbashree personnel with the task of identifying the eligible families.

"The findings of the survey are going to enter into official records and will be used as criteria in future; hence the entire exercise should be carried out in a scientific manner," NSS general secretary G Sukumaran Nair urged.

He demanded that officials should be deputed for the survey on the lines of the Census.

NSS has written a letter in this connection to the Commission which is entrusted with with the task of identifying economically weaker sections among the forward communities.

The NSS pointed out that the information regarding people who are actually facing difficulties would not be known if just five families are taken up for survey in each ward.

Since the NSS didn't get any reply it boycotted the meeting of the representatives of forward communities convened by the Commission to discuss the issue.

Limited survey

However, the Kerala government's argument is that the current survey is being done in a limited manner and the State has put forward a suggestion that a comprehensive survey be carried out along with the National Census.

Forward Communities Commission chairman Justice M R Hariharan Nair said that the sample survey is being carried out to provide assistance to the economically weaker families which are in distress without any further delay.

How Kudumbashree will hold the survey

Kudumbashree members are reaching out to five economically weaker families in each ward and conducting the survey using a mobile app. A form containing 14 questions need to be filled by the target families. The questions are aimed at ascertaining the factors responsible for their economic backwardness. However, the NSS leadership said they were not informed about this aspect.

The NSS leadership has urged the state government to reconsider its decision to conduct an unscientific survey.

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