Andhra reserves 50% temple posts for lower caste, women

Last Updated 14 September 2019, 05:09 IST

The Y S Jaganmohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh has reserved 50% of the nominated posts in all temples and endowment bodies for backward classes, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

It is also mandatory that 50% of all the posts will be allotted to women, irrespective of their category.

Endowments department special chief secretary Dr Manmohan Singh issued orders on Friday amending the Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Act. With the new order, the proposed expansion of Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanams (TTD) will have more women members. The 25 member TTD board will have close to 13 women.

"In every Board of Trustees, there shall be 50% reservation out of the total number of nominated members (after excluding the ex-officio members) to the candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Class communities. Further, 50% of total nominated members shall be women, including the women members nominated under 50% quota from Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes," the newly incorporated clause in the Act reads.

Community-based and gender-based reservations are introduced for the first time in the state. The government’s move came after the recent uproar over non-Hindus being appointed in different positions in Hindu temples, including Tirumala and Srisailam. But the experts say that the government must be careful and seek an undertaking that they only believe in Hinduism.

“They must give an undertaking that they believe in Hindu Gods and are not associated with any other faiths," said former TTD EO IYR Krishna Rao.

"Temple committees have become political rehabilitation centers. The government should now appoint only those who are pious and are spiritual," he said. He appreciated the decision to ensure that 50% of all the members are women.

Sources said Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had consulted several seers, including his spiritual guru Swaroopanandendra Saraswathi of Visakhapatnam, Sri Sarada Peetham before taking the decision.

(Published 13 September 2019, 13:29 IST)

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