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Justice Rohini panel’s findings

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Government Policies and Interventions

 

Source: TH

 Context: The Justice G. Rohini-led Commission, established in 2017 to explore the sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes (OBC) groups, submitted its report to the President of India on July 31, 2023, after numerous extensions.

 

What is the sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes (OBC) groups?

Sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes (OBC) groups involves classifying existing OBC caste groups into further categories based on their historical dominance in availing government benefits meant for OBCs.

  • Aim: It aims to ensure a more equitable distribution of benefits among OBC communities by giving higher shares to historically marginalized groups and lesser shares to those that have traditionally dominated such benefits.

 

Background:

  • National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC)proposed the sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) back in 2015.
  • In October 2017, former President Ram Nath Kovind, in the 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).

 

 What is Article 340?

  • It 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. Measures are required to be taken for the upliftment of unequal 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.

 

Need for sub-categorization:

There is a perception that only a few dominant caste groups among them benefit from the existing 27% reservation in central government jobs and educational institutions.

  • In 2018, an analysis of data from 1.3 lakh central government jobs and OBC admissions to central higher education institutions revealed that 97% of benefits were availed by just 25% of OBC castes.
  • Approximately 37% (983) of OBC communities had no representation in these opportunities, underscoring the necessity for sub-categorization.

  

The mandate of the Commission:

Commission was tasked with first examining how much of 27% reservation (jobs and education) and other government benefits meant for OBCs was dominated by which caste groups.

 

Major Findings:

  • The Dominance of Few Caste Groups: A small number of caste groups among all OBC groups were found to dominate the reservation quotas and other government benefits meant for OBCs.
  • Equitable Redistribution: The need to ensure a more equitable distribution of benefits among OBC communities was identified, aiming to address the imbalance caused by the dominance of certain groups.
  • Reservation Allocation Formula: The Commission formulated a formula to allocate reservation shares based on historical underrepresentation, with the objective of providing a larger share to historically marginalized groups and reducing the share of dominant groups.
  • Rationalization of Central OBC List: The Commission suggested corrections and replacements in spellings within the Central OBC list, aiming to rectify errors and inaccuracies in the entries.

 

Why are the Commission’s findings significant?

The findings are significant because they provide exact numbers on OBC communities benefiting from reservations since 1992.

  • Socio-Economic Data Significance: The data on socio-economic changes among OBC communities since the inception of reservation in 1992 is of great significance as it reflects the impact of reservation policies on these communities’ development.
  • Electoral Implications: The distribution of benefits, could have direct implications on the electoral strategies of political parties, leading them to reconsider their approach towards caste-based vote banks.
  • Caste census: The findings come amid calls for a caste census and growing interest in caste-based surveys.

 

Conclusion:

The government intends to hold detailed deliberations with various stakeholders before implementing the recommendations to address concerns and ensure smooth execution.

 

Insta links:

 Commission to examine the issue of Sub-categorization

 

Prelims Links:

Consider the following organizations/bodies in India: (UPSC 2023)

  1. The National Commission for Backward Classes
  2. The National Human Rights Commission
  3. The National Law Commission
  4. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

 

How many of the above constitutional bodies?

(a) Only one
(b) Only two
(c) Only three
(d) All four

 

Ans: A