Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on 2 December said the Central Government's approval was needed to push the initiative of providing 5 per cent quota to the Kapu community in the education and employment sectors.
Speaking in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, the chief minister said, "As 5 per cent of reservation to the Kapus makes the total reservation exceed 50 per cent, the Central Government's nod is compulsory. The state government will give 5 per cent quota to the community in the education and employment sectors. We will send this bill to the Centre and will ask them to include this reservation in schedule 9, so that it becomes legitimate".
He added that the Kapu community had BC reservation even before the Independence, but later the Congress Government removed their reservations and kept on assuring, but practically did nothing to add the Kapus in BCs.
The chief minister said, "When I was going on a 'Pad yatra' before elections, I came to know about the suffering of the Kapus. Then itself I understood the need of BC reservation that was peeled off by the previous Congress Government. Now we have created a sub category, BC-F, for Kapu, Balija, Telaga and Ontari communities, providing 5 per cent reservation to them. Our party held discussions with the leaders of these communities and they said they don't need political reservation, but only education and employment reservation is enough. Therefore, we proceeded with that."
He added that Kapu, Telaga, Balija and Ontari have a total population of 11.65 per cent in the entire state.
"There are a big number of school dropouts, uneducated, marginal farmers and construction labour in these four communities. Not many of these communities could complete even graduation. However, they are better in political reservation. Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar is an inspiration to us and we want reservations to be provided for attaining social justice. At the same time, we do not want to reduce reservations for existing BCs, so that there will be no injustice to them," Naidu said.
He further said the state government had been sympathetic with these communities.
"That's why we have set up the Kapu welfare and development corporation with a fund of Rs 1,000 crore. We want to uplift those BPL people. There are many poor people even in upper castes and their upliftment alone can bring social equilibrium. The Government of India should include this bill in schedule 9, so we appeal to the Central Government to do the needful," Naidu added.
The powerful Kapu community, with 27 per cent population in Andhra Pradesh, has been demanding reservations for decades.
Before the 2014 elections, Naidu promised to give quota to the community if elected to power. However, it was only in February 2016 that Naidu set up the Manjunatha Commission to recommend quota for Kapus.