Karnataka notifies 10% EWS quota on eve of announcement of poll schedule


  • Days after scrapping the 2B Category for Muslims under the OBC quota and on the eve of the announcement of the Assembly elections, the Karnataka government notified the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category to provide 10% reservation in education and employment.
  • Muslims have been included under this category as per the Cabinet decision taken last week. The order issued on March 28, the day before the model code of conduct came into force, stated that those castes that do not enjoy reservation status provided to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and are not in the list of backward classes and communities transferred to the EWS reservation from the backward classes will be eligible for 10% reservation. The five communities of Brahmins, Arya Vysyas, Mudaliars, Jains, and Nagarathas have been identified to benefit from the EWS reservation in Karnataka. Muslims are the new addition.

Disclaimer: In order to understand the topic as controversial as reservation, We have to wear the veil of ignorance.

The veil of ignorance is a thought experiment proposed by philosopher John Rawls to help individuals think about justice and fairness in society. It asks individuals to imagine that they are behind a veil of ignorance, where they do not know their social status, class, race, gender, or other personal characteristics.
In the case of reservations, the veil of ignorance could help individuals consider the issue from a neutral standpoint, without being influenced by their own personal experiences or biases. By doing so, individuals can think about the issue of reservations solely based on principles of justice and fairness, rather than their own interests or identities.
Wearing the veil of ignorance can help individuals understand the perspectives of both supporters and opponents of reservations, and can help promote a more rational and balanced discussion around the issue. 

Why do we need to cover this? 

  • The debate around reservation is centered on the practice of providing preferential treatment to individuals or groups who have historically faced social, economic, and educational disadvantages. In many countries, including India, the United States, and South Africa, reservations are implemented in education, employment, and political representation.
  • On one hand, supporters of reservations argue that they are necessary to correct historical injustices and provide opportunities for marginalized communities. They argue that without affirmative action programs, members of disadvantaged groups would continue to be excluded from positions of power and influence.
  • On the other hand, opponents of reservations argue that they are discriminatory and violate the principle of meritocracy. They argue that reservations create a system where people are chosen based on their identity rather than their abilities, leading to inefficiencies and lowering the overall quality of institutions.
  • Additionally, there are debates around the efficacy of reservations in achieving their intended goals. Some argue that while reservations may provide temporary relief, they do not address the root causes of social and economic inequality and may even perpetuate the marginalization of certain groups.

Overall, the debate around reservation is complex and multifaceted, with both supporters and opponents presenting valid arguments.

Apart from this, the syllabus of GS Paper II clearly expects us to has a clear understanding of this debate: 


General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

  • Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Hence, we will: 

  • What is reservation? 
  • Constitutional Provisions regarding Reservation 
  • What are the recent debates regarding reservation? 
  • Issues associated with reservation in India:
  • Way Forward

What is reservation? 

  • It is a form of affirmative action whereby a percentage of seats are reserved in the government service and educational institutions for the socially and educationally backward communities and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes who are inadequately represented in these services and institutions.

Constitutional Provisions regarding Reservation 

  • Article 15 (4) allows the State to make any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. This provision was extended to admission in educational institutions by 93rd Amendment Act, 2006 (except minority educational institutions) 
  • Article 16 (4) allows State to make any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State. 
  • Article 16(4A), empowers state to make provisions for reservation in matters of promotion to SC/ST employees. 
  • Article 46 states that the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation. 
  • Article 243D provides reservation of seats for SCs and STs in every Panchayat. 
  • Article 243T provides reservation of seats for SCs and STs in every Municipality. 
  • Article 330 states that seats shall be reserved in the Lok Sabha for the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes. 
  • Article 332 of the Constitution of India provides for reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assemblies of the States.

Reservation in India is a complex and controversial issue. While it was introduced as a measure to address historical and structural inequalities, it has also been criticized for creating new forms of inequality and perpetuating caste-based divisions.

What are the recent debates regarding reservation? 

  • Sub categorization of OBC: The idea is to create sub-categories within the larger group of OBCs for the purpose of reservation. OBCs are granted 27% reservation in jobs and education under the central government. This has been a legal debate for other reservation categories too: in September last year, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court reopened the debate on sub-categorisation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for reservations.
  • Dominant castes demanding reservation: Marathas, Patels, Jats, Kapus and others are asking for reservations today, preferably through their recognition as Other Backward Classes. This demand reflects the challenges they are facing on the job market.
  • Reservation to Muslims and Christians: Currently, the constitutional right to reservations in jobs and education as a member of the SC community is extended only to people from Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist faiths, in accordance with the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950.
  • Local reservation in private sector: Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020 was passed reserving 75% of private sector jobs for people of the state.

Issues associated with reservation in India:

  1. Debate around meritocracy: One of the main arguments against reservation is that it goes against the principle of meritocracy, which is the idea that individuals should be rewarded based on their abilities and hard work, rather than their social background. Critics argue that reservation policies favor candidates from certain castes or communities, regardless of their abilities or qualifications, and therefore undermine the concept of meritocracy.
  2. Limited impact: While reservation has been in place for several decades, it has not been able to fully address the issue of caste-based discrimination and inequality. Many argue that it has only benefited a small section of the population, leaving the majority of Dalits and other marginalized groups outside its purview.
  3. Backlash from dominant castes: Reservation has often been met with resistance from dominant castes, who see it as a threat to their own interests and privileges. This has led to tensions and conflicts between different caste groups, and in some cases, even violence.
  4. Political manipulation: Reservation policies have been used by political parties as a tool to gain votes and maintain power. This has led to the creation of new caste-based political alliances and the use of reservation quotas as a bargaining chip in electoral politics.
  5. Inadequate implementation: Despite the existence of reservation policies, many institutions and organizations continue to discriminate against marginalized groups. The implementation of reservation policies has been uneven and often marred by corruption and inefficiency, which has limited their impact.

Way Forward:

Improving the reservation system in India requires a multi-pronged approach that addresses its various shortcomings. Here are some ways in which the reservation system in India could be improved:

  1. Ensure effective implementation: One of the biggest challenges with the reservation system in India is the lack of effective implementation. There is a need to ensure that reservation policies are implemented in a transparent and efficient manner, and that benefits reach the intended beneficiaries.
  2. Expand the scope of reservation: Reservation policies could be expanded to include other marginalized groups such as economically weaker sections, transgender individuals, and people with disabilities, who face discrimination and exclusion.
  3. Address the issue of creamy layer: The creamy layer refers to the affluent sections within reserved categories who benefit from reservation policies and may not necessarily require them. There is a need to exclude the creamy layer from reservation benefits to ensure that the benefits reach the most disadvantaged sections.
  4. Encourage merit-based affirmative action: Reservation policies could be supplemented by other measures that promote merit-based affirmative action. For example, institutions could adopt diversity targets, scholarships, and mentorship programs to support underprivileged students.
  5. Focus on quality education: Improving the quality of education in marginalized communities is critical to reducing the dependence on reservation policies. Investment in quality education infrastructure, teacher training, and curriculum development could go a long way in promoting equality and social mobility.
  6. Promote social awareness and dialogue: Creating a social awareness and dialogue around the issues of caste and reservation is important to promote greater understanding and acceptance of the need for affirmative action policies. This could be done through public education campaigns, media outreach, and community engagement programs.

Overall, reservation in India is a complex issue that needs to be approached with nuance and sensitivity. While it has helped to address some forms of inequality, it has also created new challenges that need to be addressed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 20 MB. You can upload: image, document, archive, other. Drop files here

Online Counselling
Table of Contents
Today's Current Affairs
This is default text for notification bar