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Commission to Examine Sub Categorization of other Backward Classes

Topics covered:

Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

 

Commission to Examine Sub Categorization of other Backward Classes

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: Need for Sub Categorization, significance, issues involved and what can be done?

 

Context: Cabinet approves Extension of term of the commission constituted under Article 340 of the constitution to examine the issue of Sub-categorization within other Backward Classes in the Central List.

 

Background:

Article 14 of the Constitution guarantees equality before the law. That means un-equals cannot be treated equally. Measures are required to be taken for the upliftment of un-equals to bring them on par with the advanced classes.

In view of this, the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) proposed the sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) back in 2015. In October 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind, in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 340 of the Constitution, appointed a commission to examine the issue of sub-categorisation of OBCs, chaired by retired Justice G. Rohini, to ensure social justice in an efficient manner by prioritising the Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs).

 

Need:

The decision to appoint the commission follows the Cabinet decision to examine the extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among caste and communities included in the broad list of OBCs. At present, there is no sub-categorisation and 27% reservation is a monolithic entity.

 

Need for subcategorization:

Sub categorization of the OBCs will ensure that the more backward among the OBC communities can also access the benefits of reservation for educational institutions and government jobs.

 

The terms of reference of the Commission are as under:

  1. To examine the extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among the castes or communities included in the broad category of Other Backward Classes with reference to such classes included in the Central List.
  2. To work out the mechanism, criteria, norms and parameters in a scientific approach for sub-categorisation within such Other Backward Classes.
  3. To take up the exercise of identifying the respective castes or communities or sub-castes or synonyms in the Central List of Other Backward Classes and classifying them into their respective sub-categories.

 

Significance of this move:

This decision, taken on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, reinforces, in the spirit of his teachings, the Government’s efforts to achieve greater social justice and inclusion for all, and specifically members of the Other Backward Classes.

 

Analysis:

  • The Union Cabinet’s decision to set up a commission to examine the issue of sub-categorisation of the Other Backward Classes speaks to the long years of failure in effectively preventing large sections of the creamy layer from taking advantage of the quota system to the detriment of the poorer sections among their own caste groups.
  • In effect, the Union government is now seeking to ensure a more equitable distribution of reservation benefits by further differentiating caste groups coming under backward classes on the basis of their levels of social and economic backwardness.