Brahmin Corporations

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Telangana, Andhra

As in 2019

Koride Mahesh and Syed Akbar, Upper caste quota? Telangana and Andhra already running Brahmin corporations, January 10, 2019: The Times of India

The NDA government’s decision to give 10 per cent reservation for economically backward people in the general category may be seen as a political gamechanger ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. But the two Telugu-speaking states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have already stolen a march over the Centre in wooing upper castes.

Brahmins constituted roughly 3% of the population in united Andhra Pradesh before Telangana was carved out. And yet, the two states are perhaps the only ones in the country running special corporations for Brahmins for more than a couple of years. While AP set up the Andhra Pradesh Brahmin Welfare Corporation (APBWC) in December 2014, Telangana formed the Telangana Brahmin Samkshema Parishad (TBSP) in January 2017.

Notwithstanding the large populations of BCs, SCs and STs, there have been no protests against the two governments for keeping Brahmins happy. In fact, TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao announced in the manifesto just ahead of the 2018 assembly election that the state government would set up special corporations for other upper castes such as Reddys and Vysyas as well.

Frontrunner APBWC’s latest scheme is ‘Chanakya’, under which it distributed cars to poor Brahmin youths to be used as taxis. Given that there are very few Brahmins in motor transport sector in the region, distribution of cars raised many an eyebrow in AP.

In the past four years, APBWC has spent Rs 186 crore in providing financial help and technical coaching to 1.28 lakh poor students and youths. It has taken up schemes named after Vasista, Dronacharya, Chanakya, Bhargava, Gayatri, Bharati and Veda Vyas, each imparting entrepreneurship, teaching and Vedic learning skills, among others.

On the lines of the BC and minority welfare corporation, Telangana’s TRS government announced a corpus of Rs 100 crore for TBSP in 2017. Its flagship programme is the Vivekananda Overseas Education scheme, where poor Brahmin students get up to Rs 20 lakh to take up professional courses overseas. It has also implemented the Brahmin entrepreneurship scheme, honorarium to Veda pandits, Sastra pandits, financial assistance to Veda Pathalashala, and construction of Brahmin Sadans in the state.

There are also leaders who criticise the AP government for playing vote bank politics, stepping up welfare activities before the general elections. Ch Raghu Ramaiah, state president of All-India Brahmin Federation, told TOI that chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu had promised Rs 500 crore a year for Brahmin welfare, but has allocated less than Rs 200 crore. “The idea behind the corporation is good, but ground level implementation of schemes needed improvement. Many beneficiaries of the car scheme are close to the ruling party,” he alleged.

The AP government is also accused of magnifying the number of beneficiaries, particularly of scholarships. A student of a three-year degree course receiving scholarship from the Brahmin corporation is counted as a separate beneficiary each year. This means though there is only one beneficiary, the official data projects it as three.

Telangana, meanwhile, has other plans. TBSP chairman KV Ramana Chary told TOI, said, “A Brahmin Sadan at Gopanpally is under construction, and is expected to be completed in few months. The building can be used for community purposes and for housing the Parishad’s office.”

With the Reddy population being about 11.5 lakh in Telangana, and with reports that Reddys are reportedly with the TRS government, KCR has been taking steps to promote their welfare. He has not only allotted land for Raja Bahadur Venkat Rama Reddy hostel (known as Reddy hostel) at Budwel in Rajendranagar, but also personally attended the foundation laying ceremony for the hostel, wherein he announced Rs 10 crore as financial assistances for construction of the building.

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