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Panel for Sub-categorisation of OBCs: Mandal 2.0 Before 2019 Polls?

On the flip side, backward communities- especially the most backward castes (MBCs) — which have thus far fallen from the cracks of the reservation policy may stand to gain as a slice of the quota pie may be exclusively reserved for them.

News18.com

Updated:August 23, 2017, 5:37 PM IST
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Panel for Sub-categorisation of OBCs: Mandal 2.0 Before 2019 Polls?
Representative Image. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

New Delhi: In a move that may have far reaching ramification in national politics, the Union Cabinet has approved a proposal to set up a panel to examine sub-categorisation of the Socially and Educationally Other Backward Castes (OBCs).

The stratification of OBC quota could lead to a quota within quota in OBC reservations. This is a move which could affect educationally and socially advanced communities within the backward classes who have benefited from the policy of positive discrimination over the past three decades.

On the flip side, backward communities- especially the most backward castes (MBCs) — which have thus far fallen from the cracks of the reservation policy may stand to gain as a slice of the quota pie may be exclusively reserved for them.

The Cabinet also increased the 'creamy layer' ceiling for the OBC category to Rs 8 lakh per annum from the existing Rs 6 lakh for central government jobs.

Those in the OBC category earning up to Rs 8 lakh per annum would now get the reservation benefits.

Twenty Seven percent seats in central government jobs and educational institutions are reserved for the backward classes after Mandal Commission recommendations were implemented by the VP Singh government in 1990, resulting in a paradigm shift in the national polity. The decision was later upheld by the Supreme Court in the Indra Sawhney Case.

“The step has been taken to ensure that benefits reach all backward castes,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.

Nine States — Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Puducherry, Karnataka, Haryana, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu — have already implemented sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes.

In the recently-held UP elections, the BJP had attempted to mobilise a large section of the non-Yadav OBC voters which helped it reap rich electoral dividends. The latest move by the central government could be another step in that direction in the run up to the 2019 general elections.

The Commission will submit its report within 12 weeks from the date of appointment of the chairperson of the Commission

It will “examine the extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among the castes/communities included in the broad category of OBCs, with reference to the OBCs included in the Central list,” according to a statement issued by the government.

It will also work out the mechanism, criteria, norms and parameters, in a scientific approach, for sub-categorization within such OBCs, and take up the exercise of identifying the respective castes/communities/ sub-castes/ synonyms in the Central List of OBCs and classifying them into their respective sub-categories, the statement added.

Earlier this year, Modi government gave constitutional status to the National Backward Classes Commission through a Constitution amendment Bill.

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| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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