The first-ever list of forward caste Hindus and Christians of the State will be out shortly.
There are 83 Hindu and 20 Christian castes on the draft list drawn up by the Kerala State Commission for Economically Backward Classes among Forward Communities. The commission, which has placed the draft list within the public domain, is expected to finalise it after January 20. The list is being prepared as part of the exercise to identify the economically backward classes among the forward communities.
Besides the 83 Hindu castes, there are 62 sub-castes, including 24 sub-castes of Nairs, in the list. The 14 sub-castes of the Ambalavasi Hindus and six for the Kshatriya caste are there on the list. From the Brahmin caste, 13 sub-castes have been identified by the commission.
Christian communities numbering 20, including Chaldean Syrians, CSI, Evangelical, Basel Mission, Pentecosts, Marthomites, Malankara Catholic, and Jacobites are there on the draft list.
The commission will also fix an annual income ceiling, akin to the creamy layer fixed for Other Backward Communities (OBC), as the benchmark for identifying the economically weaker sections among the forward communities. Even while preparing the caste database of these communities, the commission paid attention to the castes that were out of the ambit of the caste-based reservation, said V.M. Gopala Menon, member secretary of the commission.
Though the communities together constitute 27.73% of the State's population, no authentic data on these castes and population are available. Earlier, two attempts for a headcount of these castes were made at the national level. However, the Central government has not released the caste data so far, said Mr. Menon.
At the same time, the data on Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs, which enjoy the benefits of caste-based reservation, are readily available in the State.
Interestingly, a few of the forward caste organisations have approached the commission with a request not to classify them as forward or upper caste communities as they feared such classifications would eventually deny them government aid.
Instead, they preferred to be called communities which were out of the ambit of caste-based reservation in the State. The data prepared by the commission could be used for providing financial support for the economically backward families from the upper castes, he said.