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OBC sub-categorisation panel’s report in ‘final stages’

Published: 9th Dec, 2022

Context

After more than five years of formation, the ‘commission for the sub-categorisation of the Other Backward Classes (OBC)’ is now in the final stages of finishing its task of coming up to further classify the nearly 3,000 caste groups within OBC.

Evolution of OBC status in India:

  • The Kalekar 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, 1980estimated 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 governmentto exclude the creamy layer (advanced sections) among the OBCs.
  • The 102nd Constitution Amendment Act, of 2018provided constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), which was previously a statutory body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

About the Commission to review OBC quota:

  • The commission was set up on 2nd October 2017 under Article 340of the Constitution.
  • It was tasked with sub-categorisation of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and equitable distribution of benefits reserved for them.
  • It was a five-member commission, headed by Justice G. Rohini (retd).
  • It was initially given 12 weeks to submit its report to the President of India.
  • Since then, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowermenthas extended the deadline more than 10 times.
  • The distribution of quota for caste groups within OBC is being done remaining under 27% of quota for the OBC share holistically.
  • In 2015, the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) recommended that OBCs should be categorised into extremely backward classes, more backward classes, and backward classes.
    • NCBC has the authority to examine complaints and welfare measures regarding socially and educationally backward classes.

For what reason commission is making its Classification:

  • To examine the uneven distribution of reservationbenefits 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/synonymsfor comprehensive data coverage.
  • To study and recommend correction of any repetitions, ambiguities, inconsistencies, and errorsof spelling or transcription.

Recommendations by the Committee:

  • Since the final recommendations have not been disclosed by the committee till now but have been released a few last years.
    • It has met representatives of state governments, state backward classes’ commissions, and community In 2021, the commission proposed to divide OBCs into four subcategories numbered1, 2, 3, and 4 and split the 27% into 2, 6, 9, and 10%,
    • It also recommended the complete digitization of all OBC recordsand a standardised system of issuing OBC certificates.
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