In a significant decision, the Left-led Kerala government today decided to provide reservation to economically backward sections in forward communities in appointments to five Devaswom boards of the state. Addressing a press conference here after a cabinet meeting that took the decision, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that this was the first time reservation had been extended to forward communities in the country. He said necessary amendments would be made in the Devaswom Recruitment rules to implement the new decision. The chief minister said 10 per cent reservation would be given to the economically weak in these communities for recruitment in the Devaswom boards. It was also resolved to increase the reservation quota for backward communities and Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes in Devaswom appointments, he said. With the latest announcement, the Ezhava community's reservation would go up to 17 per cent from 14 per cent and that of SC/ST to 12 per cent from 10 per cent. The reservation of backward communities other than Ezhava would be six per cent. It was three per cent earlier, Vijayan said. The LDF's declared policy is that reservation for backward communities and SC/ST for government jobs and in the education sector should continue along with a fixed reservation percentage for economically backward in forward classes, he said. "But that can be implemented in the nation only through a constitutional amendment.
However, there are certain sectors where reservation for economically weak can be introduced without constitutional changes," the Left leader said. The state government's view was that the Devaswom Board was one such sector where it could be implemented as it did not have reservation to minority communities, he said. Vijayan also said that the LDF and state government would continue to put pressure on the Centre to bring in constitutional amendments to provide reservation to economically backward in forward communities in other government jobs also. The Travancore Devaswom Board, Malabar Devaswom Board, Guruvayour Devaswom, Koodalmanikam Devaswom and Cochin Devaswom Board are the five boards that manage temples in the southern state. On other cabinet decisions, Vijayan said the pension age of government doctors and teachers in medical colleges has been increased. The pension age of doctors under the directorate of health service have been hiked to 60 from the present 56 years. Similarly, the superannuation age of teachers under the medical education department has been fixed at 62 years. The present age limit is 60 years. The decision in this regard was taken in view of shortage of doctors in the government sector, the chief minister added.
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