Other Backward Classes (OBCs)

Mains Marks Booster     1st August 2023        
Samadhaan
  • The Indian Constitution recognizes OBCs as socially and educationally backwards, with entitlements to reservations in employment and education. 
  • The Supreme Court mandated a permanent body to address backward class complaints. 
  • As a result, the NCBC Act was passed in 1993, establishing the NCBC. In 2018, the 102nd Constitutional Amendment Act added Article 338-B to the Constitution.
  • Situation Assessment of Agricultural Households and Land Holdings of Households in Rural India, 2019 data: data shows that of an estimated 17.24 crore rural households, 44.4% were OBCs. 

Constitutional provisions for OBC’s

  • The State is empowered to establish special arrangements for the progress of any socially and educationally underprivileged class, including the OBC, under Article 15(4) of the Constitution. 
  • Because it believes that OBCs are not properly represented in the services of the State or the Central Government, the state is authorized under Article 16(4) to adopt legislation for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of OBCs.
  • The President is given the authority to look into the situation of the underclasses by Article 340 of the Constitution. Till date, Two Backward Class Commissions were appointed i.e. Kaka Kalelkar commission and B.P. Mandal Commission. 

Schemes for OBC’s

Educational 

  • Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Construction of Hostel for OBC Boys and Girls: For students from socially and educationally disadvantaged groups, particularly those from rural regions, the Scheme strives to provide dormitory facilities so they can pursue secondary and further education.
  • National Fellowship for OBCs Students - Give OBC students financial aid so they may pursue superior higher education and get degrees like M.Phil. and Ph.D.
  • Scheme of Free Coaching for SC and OBC Students: The goal of the Scheme is to offer economically disadvantaged Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) applicants high-quality tutoring so they may participate in competitive examinations and be successful in landing a suitable job in the public or private sector.

Socio- Economic  

  • New Swarnima for Women - Under the scheme loan (Maximum 2 lakhs)is given to women belonging to backward classes having income less than 3 Lakhs..
  • Mahila Samridhi Yojana - Micro Finance Scheme for women with rebate in interest. Financial Assistance up to cost of Rs. 1,40,000/- is provided.
  • Shilp Sampada - By offering training and financial aid, this program aims to improve the technical and entrepreneurial abilities of the Backward Classes.

Institutional Measure

National Commission for Backward Classes

  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment established it as a statutory entity in 1993. 
  • Article 338B was included as part of the 102nd Amendment of 2018 and was given constitutional status. Indra Sawhney & Others v. Union of India led to the creation of the commission.

Functions

  • To examine and monitor all matters relevant to the SEBC's safeguards, as well as to assess the effectiveness of such safeguards.
  • To look into particular issues regarding the SEBC's loss of rights and protections. Reports on how such protections are operating are to be given to the President.
  • To make recommendations for actions that should be done to ensure that safeguards and other measures are implemented effectively for the protection, welfare, and socioeconomic development of SEBC.
  • To take part in, provide advice on, and assess the socioeconomic growth of the educationally and socially disadvantaged classes. The NCBC has civil court authority.

Limitations 

  • Non-Binding:  It is anticipated that the National Commission for Backward Classes won't offer social justice systems that are reliable and efficient. The government is not required to abide by the NCBC's recommendations.
  • Lack of authority: It cannot handle the current issue of demands from other castes to be listed as BCs since it has no obligation to define what is considered to be backward.
  • SC directives have been ignored: The Supreme Court's requirements for an expert body are not included in the new NCBC's makeup. OBCs are underrepresented in numerous government committees, commissions, boards, and other forums.

Way Forward

  • As required by the SC, the composition must represent the characteristics of an expert body.
  • The results of the caste census and the commission's recommendations must be made public knowledge by the government.
  • The gender sensitivity and stakeholder representation of the commission's membership should be reflected in its makeup.
  • In order to ensure that only the really underprivileged segments of society benefit from reservations, vote-bank politics should make way for value-based politics.

OBC Reservation and sub categorization

  • The Second Backward Class Commission was established by the Government of India (GOI) in 1979. In a paper that was submitted in 1980, it advocated for a 27% quota for OBCs. In 1990, the government approved it.
  • In Indra Sawhney case (1992), the Supreme Court affirmed the OBC reservation but disallowed the so-called "creamy layer" of economically affluent OBCs. They are therefore ineligible for the advantages of reservations.
  • As a result, OBCs made up 10.01 percent of Class B, 8.37 percent of Class A, and 17.98 percent of Class C in the Central Government Services in 2013.Their representation in CPSEs increased from 16.6% in 2004 to 28.5% in 2014.
  • Meanwhile, OBCs' poorest subgroups have not received benefits from reservations. As a result, the need for subcategorization within the OBCs has drawn considerable attention.

The Justice Rohini Commission

  • Following which, in 2017, the President of India established a panel to examine the sub-categorization of other backward classes under the leadership of Retd. Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini.  
  • The commission has proposed to divide OBCs into four subcategories numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4 and split the 27% quota into 2, 6, 9 and 10%, respectively. 
  • Creating subcategories within OBCs for the reservation in order to guarantee "equitable distribution" of representation among all OBC communities is known as subcategorization of OBCs.

Conclusion

  • OBC subcategorization is essential to ensuring social justice for the majority of underdeveloped communities. In order to maximise social justice for OBCs, it is important to strive for an early, transparent, and equitable implementation of OBC sub-categorization. This will ensure that marginalised sub-castes receive the benefits they deserve.
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