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Kapu Community Reservation

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.

What are the demands of the Kapus?

  • They constitute about 20% of the population, demanding its inclusion in notified Backward Classes.
  • The demand for quota for the Kapus has been there for more than two decades.
  • This will help them to get reservation in government jobs and educational institutions.

What are the reasons for the agitations?

  • Present government promised quotas for the Kapus, three years on there has been no announcement on the quota.
  • An agitation in 2016 stirred violence across the states, to address the issue came up with Manjunatha commission.
  • It looked into the demands for quota by the Kapus and other communities.
  • There is no word yet from the Commission though it has been touring the State and taking representations.
  • Recent protests, it was inspired from the Gujjars and the Patels agitation.                                                Kapu Community Reservation

Arguments Favouring Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) Quota

  • The Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) has not reaped the benefits of higher educational institutions and public employment due to their financial incapacity. The 10 per cent quota is progressive and could address the issues of educational and income inequality in India.
  • The reservation criteria should be economic because there are many classes other than backward classes who are living under abysmal conditions but cannot avail reservation and its intended benefits.
  • In Ram Singh versus Union of India (2015), Supreme Court asserted that social deficiencies may exist beyond the concept of caste (e.g. economic status/gender identity as in transgenders).

Arguments Against Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) Quota

  • Reservation based entirely on economic criteria is not an all-in-one solution, though family income can be one of the parameters.
  • Determining economic backwardness is a major challenge as there are concerns regarding the inclusion and exclusion of persons under the criteria.
  • In M. Nagaraj versus Union of India (2006), a Constitution Bench ruled that equality is part of the basic structure of the Constitution. The 50 per cent ceiling is a constitutional requirement without which the structure of equality of opportunity would collapse.
  • The implementation of the quota is a challenge in itself as the states do not have the finances to enforce even the present and constitutionally mandated reservations.
  • It washes away the constitutionally permitted gatekeeping mechanism of social and educational backwardness and makes reservation available to everyone irrespective of social backwardness.                                                                        Kapu Community Reservation
  • Reservation has also become synonymous with anti-merit, with the extension of reservation, this opinion might get further ingrained in the public psyche.

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).                                                                  Kapu Community Reservation
  • 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.

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