BENGALURU: The Karnataka government is likely to pare down the 10% quota for economically weaker sections (EWS) from the general merit category announced by the Centre. At a time when it is seen to be dithering on implementing the EWS quota in education and jobs, the state government is learnt to be mulling on reducing the quantum of reservation to make it proportionate to the population of the beneficiary communities.“It is likely that the EWS quota will be different in Karnataka and the percentage of reservation for the poor from upper castes will be less than 10 per cent,” said a senior government official. While the EWS quota is in force in the state for central government jobs and educational institutions, the state government is yet to implement it for its jobs and educational institutions. A panel led by chief secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar is studying the models in other states in a bid to explore the modalities of implementing the quota in Karnataka. The committee met on May 30 for the first time and its next meeting is yet to be scheduled. “It can be different from state to state. We need to take into consideration all factors before arriving at a formula,” said Mohammad Mohsin, secretary to the backward classes welfare department. If implemented, the EWS quota would benefit various communities, including Brahmins, Vysyas, Jains, Mudaliyars and Nairs and the cumulative population of these communities is about 6% as per available data, said officials. “A proper survey has to be done to find the beneficiaries and determine the quantum of reservation. However, as per available data and preliminary inputs, it is unlikely that the EWS quota would cross 6% in Karnataka,” an official said, adding that the committee headed by the CS is yet to make recommendations.” Vijay Bhaskar had earlier told TOI that the constitutional amendment brought by the Centre is only an enabling provision and it’s not mandatory that the state government implement it. Experts have endorsed his view, saying states are free to decide whether they want to implement the new reservation system and the quantum of it. “A state government is well within its rights to say no to EWS quota as it’s only an enabling provision. And 10% is only the upper limit, if a state wants to implement it,” said Madabushi Sridhar, professor of constitutional law at Bennett University. H Kantharaja, chairman of Karnataka State Backward Classes Commission, said the state government has to ensure internal reservation among communities benefiting from EWS quota depending on their population. “The first thing the government has to ensure is that no community is left out and the benefit reaches them in proportion to their population,” Kantharaja said, while advocating a uniform list of communities eligible for reservation across India. Another hitch is that the implementation of EWS quota is poised to exceed the 50% cap on reservation and might invite legal challenges. Officials said they are studying this aspect carefully, considering the cases pending in Supreme Court.