The Andhra Pradesh Social Welfare Department has re-appointed former IAS officer JC Sharma as the head of a one-man commission to address issues regarding the Scheduled Caste list in the state, particularly the inclusion of the Beda/Budga Jangam community. With a few changes in responsibilities, Sharma will be in charge of examining matters involving the inclusion of individuals and communities under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes categories.
The commission will look into the inclusion of the Beda/Budga Jangam community people under the Scheduled Castes category. The community, which reportedly has a population of more than 2.5 lakh in the state, falls under the SC category in Telangana, but not in Andhra Pradesh. The commission, which was previously appointed in November 2017, is yet to resolve the matter.
Apart from the SC status of the Beda/Budga Jangam community, the commission will also be responsible for issuing ST certificates to the Bentho Oriya community in Srikakulam district.
JC Sharma will also be responsible for dealing with issues related to obtaining false caste certificates by members of non-SC communities who avail opportunities meant for SC members. The measures will include prevention of such cases, cancellation of false certificates which have already been issued, and initiation of disciplinary action against government officials who have issued such false caste certificates without proper verification.
When the commission was first appointed in 2017, it was noted that the issue of false certificates was “more rampant in the case of the Chambadi/Ayodhya Kapu, Jangam /Jangam Devarlu, Dasari, Medari, Kunapuli, Barika and Kuruba/Kuruma communities”, were allegedly obtaining false certificates belonging to the SC communities of “Samban, Beda(Budaga) Jangams/Beda Jangams, Holeya Dasaris, Mala Dasaris, Kolpulavandlu, Barikas and Madasi/ Madari Kuruvas communities respectively.”