Political circles agog over proposal of Andhra Pradesh government to include Boya community on Scheduled Tribes list

A One-Man Commission comprising retired IAS officer I. Samuel Anand Kumar has been appointed to study the issues faced by the community for the purpose of including them in the list

November 30, 2022 09:48 pm | Updated 09:48 pm IST - GUNTUR

The State government’s proposal to merge the Boya community and related communities with the Scheduled Tribes, with the stated aim of providing them socio-economic benefits, has become a hot topic of discussion in political circles.

The Boyas are an influential community in Rayalaseema region, predominantly located in Anantapur and Kurnool districts in Rayalaseema, and in certain pockets of Guntur district.

Recently, the State government has appointed a One-Man Commission (OMC) comprising retired IAS officer I. Samuel Anand Kumar to study the issues faced by Bento Oriya, Valmiki and Boya communities for the purpose of including them in the list of Scheduled Tribes.

Speaking to The Hindu, former Minister and YSRCP MLC Dokka Manikya Varaprasad said that Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy constituted the committee as there was a demand from the community to include them under STs.

The State government has been following the Constitutional and legal framework on it, since the listing or removal of a community from the list of Scheduled Tribes has certain legal procedures to be complied with. There are certain parameters to define the tribes in India such as their habitations, language and culture, based on which the government would take a further decision, he said.

CM should have political will: TDP

Reacting to the development, former Minister and TDP leader Kalava Srinivasulu, who hails from the Boya community, said that the demand has been there for the last four decades.

“There is a lack of political will on the part of the YSRCP, which is why the OMC has been constituted. Otherwise, the Chief Minister would have informed the Central government and mounted pressure on it to merge the Boya community with STs,” Mr. Srinivasulu said.

The TDP leader said that the previous TDP government had constituted a committee headed by Prof. P. Satyapal, Head of the Department of Anthropology of Andhra University, who submitted a report at that time.

Based on that report, the then SC/ST Commission of the Government of Andhra Pradesh also approved the proposal and sent it to the Government of India in 2018 after getting it ratified in the Cabinet.

The Central government referred the issue to the Census Commission, which rejected the proposal stating that the Boyas in Andhra Pradesh were not the same as the Valmikis in Karnataka who enjoyed ST status, Mr. Srinivasulu said.

“If the YSRCP government really wants to merge the Boyas with the Scheduled Tribes, they will have to bring pressure on the Union Government by using their MPs,” he said.

‘Political interests involved’

Dr. Ala Venkateswarlu, a BC leader who had unsuccessfully contested the 2009 Assembly elections from Gurazala Assembly constituency on a Congress ticket, said that the Boya community is a relatively well-developed community among the Backward Castes.

“It may not be correct to merge them with Scheduled Tribes even if they so wish. Reservations were given and categorized very scientifically in the past, but now there are political interests involved,” Dr. Venkateswarlu alleged.

As the demand for inclusion under Scheduled Tribes is getting louder, political parties are assuring the community that they would look into it. But it won’t be possible to classify them as Scheduled Tribes, he said.

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