New Delhi, Feb 13 (PTI) Karnataka minister Murugesh Nirani on Saturday said there is nothing wrong in giving reservation in government jobs and education to the Panchamasali Lingayats, majority of whom are in a bad socio-economic condition in the state.
Of the total 6.5 crore population in Karnataka, Panchamashalis are about 80 lakh. There is a need to empower this community as 90 per cent of its members are into agriculture and deprived of education and job opportunities, he said.
'There is nothing wrong to include this community in the 2A category of the backward classes list and entitle them (15 per cent) reservations in government jobs and education,' Nirani told reporters here.
Nirani, who holds the mines and geology portfolio in the Karnataka government, is an influential Panchamasali leader demanding reservation in the state.
Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa is in favour of reservation for this community, he said, adding that they were to be included in the 2A category of backward classes list when the BJP was in power between 2008 and 2013. But due to legal hurdles, the community was included in the 3B category.
'No one should forget that it was done by Yediyurrappa. Had there not been hurdles, Panchamashalis would have been included in the 2A category at that time itself,' he added.
However, the chief minister has recently ordered the Karnataka Backward Classes Commission to assess the socio-economic condition of Panchamashali Lingayats and submit a report.
'The committee will study and submit a report. Thereafter, a decision will be taken by the government,' Nirani said.
The minister is on an official visit to the national capital and called on Union Minister for Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi to discuss related to state issues including illegal mining issues among others.
The minister also shared that the state government will soon bring a new mining policy to bring transparency, revive old mines, speed up approvals of the projects, ramp up capacity of Hutti Gold Mines Company Ltd besides setting up 'mining adalats' for quick resolution of mining-related issues in the state.
The government has plans to set up a mining school similar to Dhanbad School of Mining in Jharkhand to enhance skills of the Bhovi community who are largely engaged in stone quarrying activities, he added. PTI LUX AAR AAR