ANDHRA PRADESH GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES 10% RESERVATION FOR EWS AND KAPU COMMUNITY RESERVATION
WHY IN NEWS?
- Recently, the Andhra Pradesh government has announced 10% reservation for the Kapu community and other Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) for appointments in the initial posts and services in the State government.
- This reservation is extended in accordance with the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019.
ABOUT KAPU COMMUNITY:
- The Kapus are primarily an agrarian community based in the Andhra-Telangana region.
- It is believed that they migrated from the Gangetic plains, probably from Kampilya (near Ayodhya) thousands of years ago.
- They entered what is present-day Telangana and, after clearing the forests along the banks of the Godavari, settled down to farming.
- The Kapu community is demanding inclusion in the ‘Backward Castes’ category “like they were before independence”.
- The first major protest for the inclusion of the Kapus in the ‘Backward Castes’ was held in 1993.
- A government order was then issued for their inclusion in ‘Backward Castes’. However, it was not honoured.
GUIDELINES FOR EWS RESERVATION:
- Persons who are not covered under the existing scheme of reservations for SCs, STs and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes and whose gross annual family income is below Rs 8 lakh are to be identified as EWS for the benefit of reservation.
- The income includes income from all sources i.e. salary, agriculture, business, profession etc. for the financial year prior to the year of application.
- The term family for this purpose will include the person who seeks benefit of reservation, his or her parents and siblings below the age of 18 years as also his or her spouse and children below the age of 18 years.
103RD CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ACT:
- It introduced an economic reservation (10% quota) in jobs and admissions in education institutes for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) by amending Articles 15 and 16.
- It inserted Article 15 (6) and Article 16 (6).
- It was enacted to promote the welfare of the poor not covered by the 50% reservation policy for SCs, STs and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC).
- It enables both Centre and the states to provide reservation to the EWS of society.
STATUS OF EWS RESERVATION:
- 10% EWS reservation breaches the 50% limit to reservation in employment opportunities (set by Indra Sawhney case 1992) by the Central Government.
- Government’s stand is that though ordinarily 50% is the rule but same will not prevent the amendment of the Constitution itself in view of the existing special circumstances to uplift the members of the society belonging to economically weaker sections.
- Currently, the matter is in the Supreme Court, where it recently referred the petitions challenging the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 2019 to a five-judge constitution bench, saying it involves ‘substantial questions of law’.
- According to Article 145 (3) of the Constitution, at least five judges need to hear cases that involve ‘a substantial question of law as to the interpretation’ of the Constitution, or any reference under Article 143, which deals with the power of the President of India to consult the Supreme Court.
- The Supreme Court bench consisting of at least five judges is called the Constitution bench.
OTHER BACKWARD CLASSES
- Other Backward Classes (OBC) is a collective term used by the Government of India to classify castes which are educationally or socially disadvantaged.
- It is one of several official classifications of the population of India, along with General Class, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCs and STs).
- The OBCs were found to comprise 52% of the country’s population by the Mandal Commission report of 1980, and were determined to be 41% in 2006 when the National Sample Survey Organisation took place.
- National Commission for Backward Classes is a constitutional body under Article 338B of the Constitution under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
- The Kalelkar Commission, set up in 1953, was the first to identify backward classes other than the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) at the national level.
- The Mandal Commission Report, 1980 estimated the OBC population at 52% and classified 1,257 communities as backward.
- It recommended increasing the existing quotas, which were only for SC/ST, from 22.5% to 49.5% to include the OBCs.
- The central government reserved 27% of seats in union civil posts and services for OBCs [Article 16(4)]. The quotas were subsequently enforced in central government educational institutions [Article 15 (4)].
- In 2008, the Supreme Court directed the central government to exclude the creamy layer (advanced sections) among the OBCs.
- The 102nd Constitution Amendment Act, 2018 provided constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), which was previously a statutory body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
OBC SUB-CATEGORISATION COMMISSION
- It will enable the Commission to submit a comprehensive report on the issue of sub-categorization of OBCs, after consultation with various stakeholders.
- Its objectives include working out a mechanism, criteria, norm and parameters through a scientific approach for sub-categorisation within the OBCs and identifying the respective castes or communities or sub-castes or synonyms in the Central List of OBCs and classifying them into their respective sub-categories.
- Also called Rohini Commission, constituted under Article 340 of the Constitution with the approval of the President on 2nd October 2017.
- It had been constituted to complete the task of sub-categorising 5000-odd castes in the central OBC list so as to ensure more equitable distribution of opportunities in central government jobs and educational institutions.
- In 2015, the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) had recommended that OBCs should be categorised into extremely backward classes, more backward classes and backward classes.
- NCBC has the authority to examine complaints and welfare measures regarding socially and educationally backward classes.
ARTICLE 340 OF THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION
- The President may by order appoint a Commission consisting of such persons as he thinks fit to investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes within the territory of India and the difficulties under which they labour and to make recommendations as to the steps that should be taken by the Union or any State to remove such difficulties.
- A Commission so appointed shall investigate the matters referred to them and present to the President a report setting out the facts as found by them and making such recommendations as they think proper.
- The President shall cause a copy of the report so presented together with a memorandum explaining the action taken thereon to be laid before each House of Parliament.