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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


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.

What is Article 340?

Article 340 of the Indian Constitution lays down conditions for the appointment of a Commission to investigate the conditions of the backward classes. The President may by order appoint a Commission consisting of such persons as he thinks fit to investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes within the territory of India.

Constitutional basis:

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.

Article 16 (4) provides that the State can make any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens who, in the opinion of the state, are not adequately represented in the services under the State.

Sub- categorisation:

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 for sub- categorization:

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.

At present, there is no sub-categorisation and 27% reservation is a monolithic entity.


This decision 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.


Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of Articles 340, 14, 15 and 16.
  2. Head of the commission to examine the issue of sub-categorisation of OBCs.
  3. President‘s power under Article 340.
  4. Mandal Commission.
  5. Powers to include or exclude communities from the central list of OBCs.
  6. States powers to categorise OBCs.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for sub- categorisation of OBCs.

Sources: pib.