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Why AP needs to abolish caste-based welfare corporations

Caste is an obsession in Andhra Pradesh. Especially after the bifurcation of the state, the new state of AP saw a drastic rise in caste-based affiliations. From caste being a driving factor in Telugu politics to it also being a key factor in securing jobs, the people and the state have a toxic culture of caste-driven relationships. 
 
Unfortunately, the earlier Telugu Desam Government and previous governments in the United Andhra Pradesh created caste-based welfare corporations such as BC, SC and ST corporations. Then came the Kapu Corporation and the Brahmin Welfare Corporation which the Telugu Desam Party created to ensure that economically weaker people in these communities get the state’s support for education and other aspects. While these Corporations are run to benefit people from these communities, they have also in a way ensured that opportunities reach the kids from the communities.  
 
In a latest move, the Jagan-led government now has established exclusive corporations for the Reddy, Kamma and Kshatriya communities. The Government Order said that the funds allocated to these corporations will be used to support the economically weaker people of these communities. It is important to note that the Reddy, Kamma and Kshatriya (or Raju) communities are among the socially and economically dominant communities in the state, and fall under Open Category (OC).
 
Meanwhile, most members of the three communities are from agricultural families, and several individuals of these communities possess large landholdings with assured irrigation facilities. However, the Government GO claimed that a “majority of them are small and marginal farmers having no assured irrigation facilities” with crop yield affected by irregular rains and drought conditions. “... taking into account the rising agricultural inputs and in the absence of remunerative prices, the income of the families are affected and resulting in poverty,” the orders said. 
 
They also said that with more emphasis laid on education in recent times, members of these communities sold or mortgaged their agricultural lands for education expenses. The economic disparity within each of these communities “is resulting in economic unrest and to neutralise the same, institutional finance is required,” each of the orders said.
 
While all these caste-based corporations seem to be attractive poll promises for a caste-driven state and its people, it is not a good move in the long-term. While the purpose is to ensure that financially weaker people from all communities get  education and related support, there are high chances that those who are not deserving also benefit from these. 
 
At the psyche level, these caste-based welfare corporations, especially for upper and dominant castes, may further create an imperialistic attitude among these communities and could further harm the social fabric of the state in the long term. These Corporations set up for appeasing the masses are going to be detrimental for the people and their state. 
 
It is important for political parties to understand that the state, which remains divided on several issues on caste lines already, doesn’t go in that direction further with such mindless policies and promises. 
 
Additionally, it would be interesting to see states/governments ban all types of "caste-based welfare corporations" for benefiting the people and not dividing them further. Such caste-based group affiliations do not bode well for AP or any other state in the India we currently live in. 
 
May be, it time for India to re-think reservations too? 
 

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