A. P. Assembly passes Kapu Reservation Bill
December 3, 2017:The Hindu
The Assembly unanimously passed the A.P. Kapu (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and of Appointments or Posts in Services under the State) Bill on the last day of its winter session on Saturday.
The Bill would now be sent to the Governor, who would refer it to the Central government for inclusion in the Schedule IX of the Constitution as the total reservations for the Backward Classes (BCs), the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs) had crossed the cap of 50% stipulated by the Supreme Court and reached 55%.
After the Cabinet decision on Friday to provide 5% reservation for the Kapus, the draft bill was approved at a special Cabinet meeting on Saturday. It was then introduced in the Assembly by Minister for BC Welfare K. Atchannaidu while the Leader of the House and Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu sought the support of the House.
With the Assembly passing this long-pending piece of legislation, the Kapu, Telaga, Balija and Ontari communities would get the quota under the new category ‘F’ in government jobs and seats in educational institutions, which would take the total reservation for six categories of the BCs to 34% (A-7%, B-10%, C-1%, D-7%, E-4% and F-5%). The SCs and the STs have 15% and 6% reservations respectively.
The Bill left no scope for political quota by clearly mentioning that it was confined to admission to educational institutions and in the State services but that it should not be construed as giving reservation in political positions or posts.
The Chief Minister said the passage of the Bill was in fulfilment of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP)’s promise to recognise the Kapus as Backward Classes (BCs) and pointed out that it was one of the main items in the party’s 2014 election manifesto.
He asserted that the entitlement of the existing communities within the BCs would not be affected as a separate category had been created for the Kapus and three other sub-castes. Anybody left out of the Pulse Survey could get themselves registered with the department concerned even now to avail themselves of the benefit. He said the BC Commission headed by Justice K.L. Manjunath (re-constituted on January 18, 2016) took a long time to submit its report as the matter dealt by it was a serious one that could not be rushed through due to the risk of courts striking it down.
The CM said the Commission had recommended 4% to 5% quota for the Kapus on the basis of the data provided by the government from the Pulse Survey and the feedback received by it at public hearings conducted in all 13 districts.
He said the Kapu reservation issue had a historical background dating back to the British regime, under which the Kapus were considered BCs but were deleted from that list when Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy was the Chief Minister.
Several committees had since been set up, to no avail, as the Congress party lacked the political will to keep its word to alleviate the plight of the Kapus by giving them the reservation, he added.