Sub-Categorisation of OBC Castes


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    Justice G. Rohini commission for the sub-categorisation of other backward classes (OBCs) received 14th extension from the President.


    • The Justice Rohini Commission was constituted under Article 340 of the Constitution.
    • In 2008, the Supreme Court directed the central government to exclude the creamy layer (advanced sections) among the OBCs.
    • 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 forSC/ST, from 22.5% to 49.5% to include the OBCs.

    What is the Sub-Categorisation Process?

    • Identification of Dominant Caste: The Commission identified a small group of dominant caste groups that were crowding out a large number of communities from the 27% OBC quota.
    • Division of OBC communities: The commission decided to divide all OBC communities into four broad categories, with the largest quota going to the group that has been historically deprived of OBC quota due to crowding out by dominant OBC groups.

    Need for Sub-Categorisation

    • Larger benefits to small Groups: Rich and dominant sections occupy a major chunk of reservations among OBCs.
    • Earlier Recommendations: NCBC recommended sub-categorisation in 2011, which was supported by the standing committee.
    • Supreme Court Intervention: In Ashoka Kumar Thakur vs UOI, 2008 case the Court categorically reiterated its prior stand that “Creamy Layer” should be excluded from the ambit of reservation policy and private institutions are also not to be included.

    Challenges faced in Sub-Categorisation

    • Absence of Data for the population of various communities to compare with their representation in jobs and admissions.
    • Political Issue: Sub-Categorisation will lead to discontent among dominant OBC groups. Regional parties oppose this as seen in Andhra Pradesh when an attempt to provide sub-quotas for OBCs was stalled by courts on the ground that a religion-based quota is not permitted.
    • Vote-Bank politics over the prioritisation of caste-based categorisation over income-based differentiation to identify reservation beneficiaries.

    Reasons for Current Extension

    • The Bihar government is in the middle of its caste-based survey. 
    • The Uttar Pradesh government is conducting a new survey to assess the need for OBC reservation in its local body elections. 
    • States like Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are also looking to form panels to implement OBC reservations in local body polls.
    • The Rohini Commission panel said that they are currently finalising the compilation of the report.

    National Commission for Backward Classes(NCBC)

    • NCBC is a constitutional body given the prestigious status after the 102nd amendment 2018 under Article 338B of the Indian Constitution.
    • The Commission is authorised to investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the socially and educationally backward classes under this Constitution or under any other law.

    Source: The Hindu