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31st January 2023 (8 Topics)

Panel for OBC Sub-Categorisation Gets its 14th Extension

Context

The commission under former Chief Justice of the Delhi high court, G. Rohini, which is tasked with the sub-categorisation of the Other Backward Classes has been given its 14th extension by the President.

Background

Background

  • The commission under Justice Rohini was formed in October 2017.
  • The commission was formed by the President under Article 340 of the constitution.
  • Objective: to slot the nearly 3,000 caste groups that makeup India’s OBCs into categories. 
    • The commission would then have to recommend how the 27% reservation for OBCs could be distributed among these sub-categories in a manner that was most equitable.
  • It was first given 12 weeks to slot the nearly 3,000 caste groups that makeup India's OBCs into categories.

Need to make classification:

Uneven distribution

  • In 2018, a consultation paper prepared by the commission was reported to have found that of the jobs and educational positions reserved for OBCs at the Central level, 97% have gone to people from less than a quarter of all OBC sub-castes.
  • In addition, 938 OBC sub-castes – which make up 37% of the total number – have no representation at all in the reserved seats.
  • To examine the uneven distribution of reservation benefits among different castes in the central OBC list.
  • To work out the mechanism, criteria, norms, and parameters in a scientific approach for sub-categorisation within such OBCs.
  • To take up the exercise of identifying the respective castes/communities/sub-castes/synonyms for comprehensive data coverage.

Evolution of OBC status in India:

  • The Kalelkar Commission, set up in 1953, was the first to identify backward classes other than the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) at the national level.
  • The Mandal Commission Report, 1980 estimated the OBC population at 52% and classified 1,257 communities as backward.
    • It recommended increasing the existing quotas, which were only for SC/ST, from 22.5% to 49.5% to include the OBCs.
  • Constitutional Backing for OBC reservation:
  • The central government reserved 27% of seats in union civil posts and services for OBCs [Article 16(4)].
    • The quotas were subsequently enforced in central government educational institutions [Article 15 (4)].
  • In 2008, the Supreme Court directed the central government to exclude the creamy layer (advanced sections) among the OBCs.
  • The 102nd Constitution Amendment Act, of 2018 provided constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), which was previously a statutory body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

 

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