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Indian Polity

Extension to OBC Sub-Categorisation Commission

  • 07 Jul 2022
  • 4 min read

For Prelims: Reservation of Other Backward Classes, National Commission for Backward Classes

For Mains: Sub-Categorisation Commission and its objectives

Why in News?

Recently, the Union Cabinet gave the 13th extension to the Justice Rohini Commission, to examine sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and submit its report by 31st January 2023.

  • The initial deadline to submit the commission’s report was 12 weeks — by 2nd January, 2018.

What are the Key Highlights?

  • Commission:
    • The commission was set up on 2nd October, 2017 under Article 340 of the Constitution.
    • It was tasked with sub-categorisation of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and equitable distribution of benefits reserved for them.
    • In 2015, the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) had 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.
  • Commission’s Terms of References:
    • 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.
    • To study and recommend correction of any repetitions, ambiguities, inconsistencies and errors of spelling or transcription.
  • Work Done So Far:
    • It has met representatives of state governments, state backward classes commissions, community associations etc. apart from obtaining caste-wise data of OBCs in higher educational institutions and recruits in central departments, public sector banks and financial institutions.
    • In 2021, the commission proposed to divide OBCs into four subcategories numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4 and split the 27% into 2, 6, 9 and 10%, respectively.
    • It also recommended complete digitisation of all OBC records and a standardised system of issuing OBC certificates.

How has the status of OBC reservation evolved over time?

  • 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.
  • 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, 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.

Source: IE

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