THE TAMIL Nadu government on Tuesday announced that it has decided to set up a commission to examine and suggest methodologies to conduct a caste-based survey in the state, the first such exercise after the 1950s and a long-pending demand of different political parties and community groups.
The announcement came amid protests by the PMK, an ally of the NDA and AIADMK, which has been demanding 20 per cent reservation in government jobs and education in the state for the Vanniyars – a powerful Most Backward Class (MBC) community from north Tamil Nadu.
According to the party, the community accounts for 25 per cent of the state population but its representation in government jobs is less than 8 per cent. The party has also been demanding to know the current share of each community in terms of government jobs and education.
Strategic move ahead of polls
WITH SIX months to go for the assembly polls, the government’s move to set up the commission is a strategic one as the entire process – from setting up of the commission to the survey – would take much more time than that and may help it duck the heat. There are views in the government that any favourable move for the PMK would lead to a chaotic situation right now as other socially and politically powerful communities, such as Thevars and Goundars, too, would come up with similar quota demands.
Currently, Tamil Nadu has 69 per cent reservation, including 20 per cent for MBCs, the list of which has 108 communities.
The government’s announcement to set up the commission for caste-based survey is being seen as a move to douse the quota protests, which the PMK is trying to bring to Chennai, just six months ahead of the state assembly polls.
On Tuesday, at least 300 people were taken into custody on Chennai borders as the PMK made efforts to organise protests in the city. With security at all entry points being tightened, PMK workers resorted to pelting trains with stones after being denied permission to enter Chennai city limits.
PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss also met Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and reiterated the quota demand.
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