THE NATIONAL Commission for Backward Classes is in favour of four sub-categories of Other Backward Classes, in line with what the Justice G Rohini Commission is exploring, its Chairman Bhagwan Lal Sahni told The Indian Express on Sunday.
The Justice Rohini Commission has been studying sub-categorisation of OBCs and is expected to submit its report to the government in July.
Speaking to The Indian Express, NCBC Chairman Sahni said: “The Commission [for Backward Classes], in principle, is in favour of roughly four categories of OBCs as being suggested by the Justice Rohini Commission. These sub-categories will broadly be about OBC sections which have either benefited adequately or less benefited from reservation. The other two categories are about least benefited and those who have not at all benefited from the present reservation structure for OBCs.”
Asked if his panel supported the Bihar model of two categories of OBCs, Sahni said: “What Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar often talks about is laudable. While we have just one category, OBC, at the Centre, Bihar has been following two categories – OBCs and EBCs… We, at the national commission, support sub-quota.” He, however, said although the central government too appeared to be in favour of sub-categories, it needs Cabinet approval and has to be passed by Parliament after the Justice Rohini Commission submits its report.
Recently, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar reiterated his demand for caste census. On occasion of former chief minister Karpoori Thakur’s death anniversary on 17 February, he said: “If there is caste census, it will be helpful in taking benefits of reservation to the people.” The caste census is due this year.
In January this year, the Centre have an extension to the Justice Rohini Commission to submit its report. The panel’s terms of reference is to examine extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among the castes or communities included in the broad category of OBCs with reference to such classes included in the Central List, to work out mechanism, criteria and parameters for sub-categorisation within such OBCs and to identify respective castes and communities or sub-caste to classify them in broad categories.
The Justice Rohini Commission was constituted on October 2, 2017. It was given 12 weeks to submit its report, but has been given several extensions since.
OBCs are granted 27 per cent reservation in jobs and education under the central government. In September last year, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court reopened the legal debate on sub-categorisation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for reservation. 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 this 27 per cent quota. The argument for sub-categorisation — or creating categories within OBCs for reservation — is that it would ensure “equitable distribution” of representation among all OBC communities.
(With inputs from Shyam Lal Yadav)
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