Sub-categorization of OBCs 

Sub-categorization of OBCs 

This article covers “Daily Current Affairs” and the topic details “Sub-categorization of OBCs”. The topic “Sub-categorization of OBCs” has relevance in the “Indian Polity” section of the UPSC CSE exam.

For Prelims:

Constitutional provisions related to the OBCs 

For Mains:

GS2:  Indian Constitution, amendments and significant provisions 

Why in the news?

The eagerly anticipated report of the commission tasked with studying the sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) was presented to President Droupadi Murmu on Monday (July 31). The details of the report remain undisclosed.


Justice Rohini Commission 

  • The Government formed a Commission on October 2, 2017, according to Article 340 of the Constitution. 
  • This Commission’s job was to examine how fairly the benefits of reservation were being distributed among different castes within the Other Backward Classes. 
  • The Commission was led by Justice (Retd.) G. Rohini, a former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court. It received 13 extensions to its tenure.

Need for Sub-categorization of OBCs:

  • Reservation for OBCs: OBCs have a 27% reservation in central government jobs and educational institutions.
  • Numerous Entries in Central List: The Central List of OBCs contains more than 2,600 entries, representing various castes and communities.
  • Perceived Inequitable Distribution: Over time, a perception has grown that only a few well-off communities within OBCs are benefiting significantly from the reservation system.
  • Equitable Distribution Goal: To ensure a fair and balanced allocation of reservation benefits, the concept of “sub-categorization” within the existing 27% quota is proposed.


Supreme Court Intervention:

  • Chinnaiah Decision (2005): A 2005 Supreme Court decision (E V Chinnaiah vs State of Andhra Pradesh) stated that no separate sub-quota should be introduced within the quota for SCs and STs for the benefit of castes or tribes considered less disadvantaged.
  • Revisiting Chinnaiah: In August 2020, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court decided that the Chinnaiah decision needed reconsideration.
  • Punjab Law Case (State of Punjab vs Davinder Singh): The 2020 verdict resulted from a case involving the validity of a 2006 Punjab law. This law aimed to create sub-classifications within SCs and reserve a portion of the SC quota for specific identified castes.


Terms of Reference of the Rohini Commission:

The original mandate of the Rohini Commission included three key objectives:

  • Equitable Distribution Examination: Investigate the extent of uneven allocation of reservation benefits among castes or communities within the broader category of Other Backward Classes (OBCs), specifically in relation to those listed in the Central List.
  • Sub-categorization Mechanism: Develop a systematic and scientific approach for sub-categorizing OBCs. This entails establishing criteria, norms, and parameters to create distinct sub-categories within the OBC classification.
  • Identification and Classification: Undertake the task of identifying and classifying the respective castes, communities, sub-castes, or synonyms listed in the Central List of OBCs into their appropriate sub-categories.


Commission Tenure and Extensions:

  • The Rohini Commission was initially established for a duration of 12 weeks, concluding on January 3, 2018.
  • Subsequently, the commission received multiple extensions to its tenure.


Expansion of Terms of Reference:

    • On July 30, 2019, the commission communicated to the government that it had identified certain issues in the existing list, suggesting the need for clarification and rectification before sub-categorization could be pursued.
    • As a result, on January 22, 2020, a fourth item was incorporated into the terms of reference. 
    • Review the entries within the Central List and recommend corrections: 
      • This new addition required the commission to thoroughly review the entries within the Central List of OBCs. 
      • The commission was entrusted with the responsibility to recommend corrections for any redundancies, ambiguities, inconsistencies, as well as spelling or transcription errors present in the list.


Progress of the Commission’s Work:

  • Draft Report Preparation and Community Analysis:
      • In July 2019, the commission indicated that it had a draft report ready.
      • Subsequently, the commission began studying the list of communities within the Central List of OBCs.
  • Data Analysis on Jobs and Education:
      • In 2018, the commission examined data from 130,000 central government jobs allocated under the OBC quota during the preceding five years.
      • The analysis also covered OBC admissions to central higher education institutions, including universities, IITs, NITs, IIMs, and AIIMS, over the preceding three years.
  • Analysis Findings:
    • The analysis revealed that 97% of jobs and education seats were occupied by only 25% of OBC castes.
    • Further, 24.95% of these opportunities were taken by just 10 specific OBC communities.
    • Significantly, 983 OBC communities, accounting for 37% of the total, were found to have no representation in jobs and educational institutions.
    • Additionally, 994 OBC sub-castes had minimal representation, accounting for only 2.68% of recruitments and admissions.
    • However, these findings were limited by the absence of updated population data.



Rohini panel submits long-awaited report: what is ‘sub-categorisation’ of OBCs? | Explained News – The Indian Express 

plutus ias current affairs eng med 3rd August 2023


Q1. With reference to Indian Constitution, consider the following statements: 

  1. Under Article 340, the President can establish a Commission with members chosen by him to study the situation of socially and educationally disadvantaged groups in India. 
  2. Article 340 was added by the 102nd Amendment to the Constitution. 
  3. National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) was formed under the provisions of the 102nd Amendment Act, 2018.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only 

(d) None 

Answer: (c) 


Q2. Consider the following: 

 Article   Provision 
1. Article 15   Special provisions for backward classes, SCs, STs in admissions to private educational institutions
2. Article 16  Reservation of vacancies in public services.
3. Article 17  Consideration of unfilled vacancies.
4. Article 338B  Constitutional status for the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes

How many of the abovementioned pairs are correctly matched ?

(a) Only one 

(b) Only two 

(c) Only three 

(d) All Four 

Answer: (b)


Q3. Discuss the background and objectives of the Justice Rohini Commission formed under Article 340 of the Constitution. Why was the sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) considered necessary?

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