‘Kudumbis’ are keeping their fingers crossed as the evaluation report to include them in the Schedule Caste category would be out within a month.
Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Mukul Wasnik has already instructed the Registrar General of India seeking a report on the Kudumbi issue. For Kudumbis, this report is of paramount importance. For, if they lose out this time, then there would be a wait of 10 years to contend with.
The Kudumbi community, which belongs to the OBC category, has been fighting for quite a long period for inclusion into the Scheduled Caste category, on account of their backward socio-economic conditions. “As per the rule, the list of communities included in the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe categories has to be renewed once in every 10 years, based on the advancement made by the communities included within the categories. This is the term of renewal. If the report is not favourable to us, we will be forced to wait for another 10 years,” said P V Mahesh, convenor, All Kerala Kudumbi Coordination Committee.
The prime requirement to include a particular community in the SC category is a favourable recommendation of the state government, to the Union Ministry of Social Justice. In the case of Kudumbis, the state government has recommended it thrice, in 1967, 1981 and in 2007. Besides, the Kerala Institute of Research and Training Development Studies (KIRTADS) has also submitted a report stating that the Kudumbis deserve to be included in the SC category.
P Rajeev MP, who accompanied Kudumbi members to meet the Union Minister in Delhi, also confirmed that the demands of the Kudumbis need to be acknowledged. In 1969, the Parliamentary Joint Committee chaired by A K Chanda MP undertook a study on the social conditions of various backward communities, and submitted a report including 42 communities in the list prepared by it.
“The Kudumbis were also included in the list. Sadly, except Kudumbi and Madiga, all other communities recommended by the committee were included in the list,” said Sunil C S, state vice-president, Kudumbi Yuvajana Sangham. He added that the community still lags behind on the socio-economic scale, especially in the fields of education and employment.
“As per the information made available through RTI, the Kudumbi community does not have a single panchayat president or a vice-president in the state. There are only about seven or eight panchayat members belonging to the community,” he said. The members said a positive report by the Centre would prove to be a turning point for the community as a whole.