The Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday argued that the “trickle down” theory had failed to ensure the development of tribals and instead said that the “bottoms-up” approach of setting aside 100 % quotas for tribal teachers in the tribal belt had led to a remarkable increase in literacy rates in the scheduled areas, but the Supreme Court wasn’t entirely convinced. 

A five-judge bench, led by Justice Arun Mishra, demanded data to prove the state’s claim. The bench also demanded to know if the state government’s reasoning was enough to justify the complete exclusion of all the other categories . “Why can’t those who live in culturally contiguous areas teach in these areas?” asked Justice Vineet Saran. 

Justice Aniruddha Bose backed this view but state counsels senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan and R Venkataramani said empirical data showed that people from other areas did not wish to go to these areas and that’s why the state had brought in a 100% quota policy for local tribals. 

“People don’t shift easily. There’s no incentive,” said Venkataramani. Advocate Shivam Singh who appeared for some tribal teachers also argued that education figured in the list of the areas allotted to the gram sabha. But the bench did not entirely seem convinced by the arguments.

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