The Andhra Pradesh government set up separate corporations for 56 major castes under the Backward Classes category. Earlier, one single Backward Classes Corporation catered to all the requirements of 139 such castes.
Why has Andhra taken such a step?
During Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy’s padayatra before the May 2019 elections, he received several complaints from people belonging to several backward castes that benefits and schemes of the government were not reaching them properly. The YSRCP leader promised that he would set up separate corporations for BC castes which have a population of more than 30,000 so that each corporation can micro manage a particular caste’s people and their needs. These corporations will receive funding from the government which will be used to deliver government’s schemes and benefits to the beneficiaries. Some of the benefits include pre and post-metric school fees reimbursement; financial assistance of Rs 18,750 given to women in the age group of 45-60 years to encourage them to start small businesses; old age pensions; rations through PDS; and healthcare benefits. Officials say they would be able serve the communities better because each corporation would be responsible for a limited number of beneficiaries.
Did separate corporations for sub-castes exist before?
No, this is the first time that separate corporations have been set up for various sub-castes under Backward Classes. Earlier, a BC Welfare Corporation catered to the needs of all the 139 sub-castes listed under the Backward Classes. There were separate caste-based cooperative federations. During the Telugu Desam Party regime, separate caste-based corporations were established for Kapus and Brahmins, but not for sub-castes. With a 49.55 per backward class population, the YSRCP government felt that separate corporations were needed to manage the sub-castes and ensure that the beneficiaries receive all the benefits and schemes being announced by the government.
Why have the new corporations been set up now? What are their functions?
Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy made a poll promise that if voted to power his government would set up several separate corporations for welfare of the backward classes. The support of the backward classes, who switched their loyalty en masse to YSRCP, helped the party win a landslide victory.
After forming his government, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy announced that welfare of BCs would be a priority for his government and that his government would spend up to Rs 75,000 crore for schemes and benefits for backward classes over five years. The setting up of the corporations fulfils the poll promise as well as empowers backward classes leaders by appointing one chairperson and 12 directors to each corporation. The chairperson and 12 directors would each represent the 13 districts in the state whose job is to identify the eligible beneficiaries of a particular sub-caste under a corporation and ensure that the welfare is directed at them.
Who are the Backward Classes in Andhra Pradesh?
According to recent government surveys, about 2,14, 97,500 or 49.55 per cent of the population comes under Backward Classes in Andhra. There are 139 sub-castes covering a range of communities which are divided into A, B, C, D and E categories. Group C is SC converts to Christianity while Group E comprise socially, economically and educationally backward Muslims. These sub-castes each have a population ranging from as less as 15,000 to over 10 lakhs. Yadavas, Turpu Kapus, Kuruma, Balija, Agnikula Kshatriya are some of the dominant sub-castes. Under Group E, Shaik/Sheikh Corporation has been set up for socially backward Muslims.
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