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Commission Submits OBC Sub-Categorisation Report to President


A commission, led by Justice G Rohini, was appointed in 207 to examine the sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Recently, the commission submitted its report to President Droupadi Murmu. However, the details of the report have not been disclosed publicly yet.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is sub-categorisation of OBCs?
  2. G Rohini Commission: Investigating OBC Sub-Categorisation
  3. Challenges Faced by the G Rohini Commission:

What is sub-categorisation of OBCs?

  • The idea is to create sub-categories within the larger group of OBCs for the purpose of reservation.
  • OBCs are granted 27% reservation in jobs and education under the central government.
  • This has been a legal debate for other reservation categories too: in September 2021, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court reopened the debate on sub-categorisation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for reservations.
  • For OBCs, the debate arises out of the perception that only a few affluent communities among the over 2,600 included in the Central List of OBCs have secured a major part of the 27% reservation.
  • The argument for creating sub-categories within OBCs is that it would ensure “equitable distribution” of representation among all OBC communities.
    • It was to examine this that the Rohini Commission was constituted on October 2, 2017.

G Rohini Commission: Investigating OBC Sub-Categorisation

  • The commission was established in 2017 under Article 340 of the Constitution with the approval of the President of India.
  • Article 340 empowers the President to appoint a commission to investigate OBC issues and provide recommendations.
Terms of Reference:
  • Investigate the inequitable distribution of reservation benefits among OBCs.
  • Develop criteria and norms for sub-categorisation within OBCs using a scientific approach.
  • Identify and classify respective castes, communities, and sub-castes in the Central List of OBCs.
  • Review the entries in the Central List of OBCs and suggest changes if needed.
Data Analysis:
  • The commission analyzed data of central government jobs and OBC admissions to higher education institutions.
  • Findings revealed that 97% of jobs and seats went to 25% of OBC castes, with 10 OBC communities obtaining 24.95% of these opportunities.
  • 983 OBC communities had zero representation in jobs and education, and 994 OBC sub-castes had a representation of only 2.68% due to limitations in updated population data.

Challenges Faced by the G Rohini Commission:

Lack of Data on OBC Population:

  • The commission faced challenges due to the absence of data on the population of various OBC communities.
  • This made it difficult to compare their representation in jobs and admissions accurately.

Request for All-India Survey:

  • In December 2018, the commission asked the government for a budgetary provision to conduct an all-India survey to estimate the population of different OBCs.
  • However, later, it decided not to undertake the survey at that stage.

Demand for Caste Census:

  • OBC groups and most political parties, except the BJP central leadership, have been demanding a caste census.
  • The Bihar legislature passed resolutions twice unanimously, calling for a caste census.
  • The Patna High Court dismissed a challenge to the Bihar government’s decision to conduct a caste survey, allowing the exercise in the state.

Source: Indian Express

July 2024