Tamil Nadu government issues order to implement 10.5 per cent reservation for Vanniyars within the MBC quota

Published : July 27, 2021 20:03 IST

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin. Photo: R. Senthil Kumar / PTI

Reluctant to disturb the existing socio-political situation in Tamil Nadu, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government, led by its leader and Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, has issued an order to implement the controversial internal reservation of 10.5 per cent for the Vanniyar caste group in the Most Backward Class (MBC) category, with retrospective effect from February 26, 2021. The order thus ensures that the Vanniyars have an internal reservation advantage over other caste groups in the areas of education and employment.

The Tamil Nadu Government Order, issued by Mythili K. Rajendran, Secretary to the government, on July 26, has accordingly effected changes in the 200-point roster prescribed in Schedule V to the Tamil Nadu Government Servants (Conditions of Service) Act, 2016, to facilitate the internal reservation. The previous AIADMK government had, on February 26, just a day before the announcement of the April 6 Assembly election, passed a piece of legislation in the Assembly to earmark 10.5 per cent reservation to the Vanniyar caste group of Vanniyars, Vanniya, Padayachi, Palli and Agnikula Khshathriya within the existing 20 per cent for the Most Backward Classes. The AIADMK and the Vanniyar-dominated Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), which has been demanding the internal reservation, had been allies.

The G.O said: “This reservation will be followed for government jobs and educational institutions from this academic year.” It also ensured special reservation in admissions to all the educational institutions in Tamil Nadu, including private ones, and appointments to State government departments. The roster should take effect from February 26 and apply to vacancies notified by the recruiting agencies and appointing authorities on or after the said date. The caste was mentioned in a separate column in the list as ‘Most Backward Class–V’. Besides, other necessary amendments to the Act would be issued separately.

While tabling the Bill on the reservation, Edappadi K. Palaniswami, the then Chief Minister, had told the Assembly that it (Bill) was based on the recommendations of Justice Janarthanan Committee, and was only temporary. He claimed that the Justice Kulasekaran Committee, appointed by his government, to undertake a caste survey, following protests from other MBC groups, was on its way. After getting the latest data, the reservation slab could be remodified, he said.

PMK founder leader Dr S. Ramadoss welcomed the State government’s decision to implement the order on Vanniyar reservation. He thanked Chief Minister Stalin, former Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and others. In his tweet, Ramadoss said that the educational and employment opportunities of the Vannniyar caste people would improve henceforth.

DMK leader M. Karunanidhi, on the request of the PMK leader, had split the Other Backward Classes (OBC) reservation into two blocks—BC (Backward Caste) and MBC. He, however, did not provide an exclusive quota for Vanniyars, as they had demanded. He brought not only Vanniyars and its subcaste groups in the MBC category, but included the Denotified Communities, such as Maravas, Ambalakarars and Piramalai Kallars, and a few other Backward Class categories in it.

The current slab of MBC reservation for 109 castes was divided into three categories—10.5 for Vanniyars, 7 per cent for Denotified Communities (68 castes) and 2.5 per cent for other 41 castes. A total of 252 castes is grouped in the OBC list in Tamil Nadu. The Supreme Court in 1990 had ruled that reservation should not be more than 50 per cent. But the Tamil Nadu government, led by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, passed the Tamil Nadu Act of 1994 in the Assembly and received constitutional protection by including it under the Ninth Schedule.

The 69 per cent of reservation after the present split in MBC category would constitute: Backward Classes 30 per cent (Non Muslim quota 26.5, Muslim 3.5); MBC 20 per cent (Vanniyars 10.5, Denotified Communities 7, other castes 2.5); the Scheduled Castes 18 per cent (Arunthathiyar 3.5); and the Scheduled Tribes 1 per cent.