Karnataka’s Brahmins can get caste and income certificates, avail 10 percent EWS benefits

Karnataka State Brahmin Development Board had been set up before 2018 Assembly elections, by JD(S)-Congress govt

Image Courtesy:ind.news

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddiyurappa recently inaugurated via video link, the new office, website and logo of Karnataka State Brahmin Development Board (KSBDB), from his home office. With this, the official work for the Brahmin community of the state officially set in motion the project that was promised by HD Devegowda, the JD(s) patriarch even before the 2018 Assembly elections. 


According to information available on its website the KSBDB was established “as per the budget announcement in the year 2018-19 to uplift the socio economically backward Brahmin communities in Karnataka.” It has a seed capital of “Rs. 20 crores for schemes and Rs. 5 crores for capital expenditure” and was registered under Section 8 of Companies Act 2013 as State Government Company on March 1, 2019. 

The KSBDB is registered, states the portal, “to help and uplift the Brahmin community and contribute to the overall growth of economically-backward members in the Brahmin community in Karnataka.” It has on its list schemes for Brahmins under various categories including: education, skill development, self-employment, development of basic amenities etc.

It has scholarships to pre-matric and post-matric students for needy Brahmin students, and will coordinate with banks to provide soft educational loans at low / zero interest rates for those seeking higher education in India and abroad. Financial assistance will also be given to the vedic students/scholars/aagamikas and Sanskrit students/scholars. It will also provide “free training for main examinations to Brahmin students who have passed the preliminary examination of IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS, KAS, etc.”

Now economically weak Brahmins of Karnataka can apply for and get caste and income certificates in the state and avail of the 10 percent reservation set aside in the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) quota for “upper-caste” groups. According to a report in The Wire, all deputy commissioners of the state have been asked by M.L. Varalakshmi, under-secretary to the revenue department, to begin issuing the certificates. Reservation for “upper castes” in the EWS quota had been announced by the Narendra Modi government.  And just before the 2018 assembly elections, the JD(S)-Congress coalition government had announced the board. As reported then by the Times Of India, this was a move aimed at the community that constitutes close to 4% of Karnataka’s vote bank.

The state government has changed since then but promises to bring “upper”-caste Indians into the reservation policy have been kept in accordance with the Union Government’s policy to reserve places for ‘economically weaker savarnas’ into educational institutions and employment. The Department of Personnel and Training on January 19, 2019, notified those with family income of less that  Rs 8 lakh annually, belong to the “economically weaker section”. 

The 10% reservation law was enacted to promote the “welfare of the poor” not covered by the 50 percent reservation policy for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes (OBCs). In other words, this quota was specifically introduced to cover the upper caste communities. While the 10 percent EWS law covers all savarna castes, the Karnataka government may be the only one so far to have a board exclusively for the Brahmin community.

According to news reports, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments had not implemented the EWS reservation till earlier this year and a petition was moved before the Supreme Court against the two states. The Wire reports the Centre’s affidavit filed before the SC: “Whether or not to provide reservation to the economically weaker section in appointment to State government jobs and admission to State government educational institutions, as per provisions of the newly inserted Articles 15(6) and 16(6) of the Constitution is to be decided by the State government concerned.” 

According to a report in the New Indian Express, the Karnataka government issued a formal order to Deputy Commissioners to issue the caste and income certificates to Brahmins after reports came in of some tahsildars who had refused to issue them. “In a communication sent to all DCs, M L Varalakshmi, under secretary to the Revenue Department, stated that the Karnataka Brahmin Development Board has been established to come out with several schemes that will benefit Brahmins in education, skill development, self-employment and to provide other benefits,” reported the Express.


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