BC Commission has a long way to go before ruling on Kapu claim to quotas
VIJAYAWADA: In the face of pressure from Mudragada Padmanabham, the Andhra Pradesh government may claim to be making haste on the question of reservation for Kapus, but a commission set up to study the socioeconomic situation of backward class communities is unlikely to rush its recommendations just to suit the powers of the day. For inclusion of Kapus in the backward class list is but one of the 74 applications before the BC Commission of Andhra Pradesh, which started its work only three months ago. And some of those applications have been pending for more than 15 years.
The commission’s chairman, Justice K L Manjunath makes no bones about the brief given to him: study the real socioeconomic condition of some communities wanting reservations and sops and recommend whether or not they deserve to be included in the backward class list.
The quota-demanding caste groups include Kapus along with several others. Justice Manjunath remains noncommittal whether he will or he won’t recommend BC status for the Kapus because his survey has not yet been completed.
Speaking to the New Indian Express, the judge says he is under no pressure, either from the government or from Kapu organizations; the current Kapu agitation in the state has no bearing on his work. He also makes it clear that the so-called deadline of nine months given to him was only a suggestion rather than a stipulation that is not binding upon him. The tenure of his commission is three years and he is expected to complete his work during that period.
“My report has to stand up to the scrutiny of the court. It can only happen when the study is done in a scientific manner. The decision as to why a particular community should be included in the BC list has to be clearly established. It is not easy. Hence the first resolution of the commission was to have a comprehensive household survey,” justice Manjunath said.
Accordingly, moves are afoot to conduct a ‘Smart Pulse Survey’ in the state, he explained.
The BC Commission had been defunct for six years before it was revived three months ago by the government. Since it was one of the organisations listed in Schedule X of the AP Reorganisation Act, there are several pending issues pertaining to the division of assets between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. However, necessary infrastructure was provided in Vijayawada for the commission to start its work.
The commission started getting the old files and documents transported from Hyderabad only since the first week of May and is now preparing itself to gather necessary background information before conducting public hearings across the state on communities’ claim to quotas. Further, some 39 applications relating to the various groups within the BC list have to be dealt with. “We want the comprehensive household survey report to be foolproof, so we prepared a modular format with 60 columns, some having subdivisions, and gave it to the IT department, which will conduct the survey using the latest technology. We have even codified the columns for easy entry of data by enumerators. The survey will be an extensive one and the government, which included its own requirements in the questionnaire, is expected to conduct a pilot project to iron out any snags,” he said.