In 2017, the Narendra Modi government constituted the Justice Rohini Commission to examine the sub-categorisation of the Other Backward Classes to examine the equitable redistribution of the 27% quota for the Other Backward Castes (OBC), which will now reportedly begin consultations with the states on a four-category formula.
There are 2,633 Other Backward Castes in the Central List. The Commission has proposed to divide them into four subcategories numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4 and split the 27% into 2,6,9 and 10 per cent, respectively, the Economic Times reported.
The Category 1 will include 1,674 caste groups, identified as the ones who have not benefited from the quota. In the second Category there will be 534 caste groups while categories 3 and 4 will give 328 and 97 caste groups, respectively.
Interestingly, there are the least number of caste groups in the Category 4, mostly considered dominant OBCs with large populations, but they will still be getting the largest chunk at 10%. With this sub-categorisation, the Commission would ensure that the objective of other groups being guaranteed a share is ensured.
Presently, 27% quota is set aside for OBCs in jobs and seats in central government-funded educational institutes.
According to the reply in Lok Sabha, the Commission was set up in 2017 to “examine the extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among the castes or communities included in the broad category of Other Backward Classes with reference to such classes included in the Central List”; “To work out the mechanism, criteria, norms and parameters in a scientific approach for sub-categorisation within such Other Backward Classes”; and “To take up the exercise of identifying the respective castes or communities or sub-castes or synonyms in the Central List of Other Backward Classes and classifying them into their respective sub-categories.”
The four-member Commission is headed by Justice (Retd) G Rohini, Chief Justice (Retd), Delhi High Court with the other three members being (a) Dr. JK Bajaj, Director, Centre for Policy Studies, New Delhi (b) Director, Anthropological Survey of India, Kolkata(ex-officio Member) (c) Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India. (ex-officio Member). Justice G. Rohini, Chairperson of the Commission belongs to the OBC community.
The source has confirmed to ET that the members will be going to various states March onwards inviting their suggestions. It is important to note that there are 11 states implementing their own sub-categorisation.
Assessments available with the Commission emphasise what lead to disparity among states in the implementation of quota. It’s observed that over the past five years, “just 10 caste groups constitute one-fourth of the beneficiaries in the 27%OBC quota break-up. 37 caste groups make up two-thirds and 100 count for three-fourths. The remaining 2486 caste groups make up for the last one-fourth in the quota matrix.” However, even among these 2,486 castes, “over a 1,000 of them have no representation at all in the 27% quota.”