In a move that would set off a debate on the job reservation, the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) has suggested to the government on the need to further divide the backward castes in the central list of the OBCs (other backward classes) into three groups and thus limit each group’s quota to within the 27% has set aside by the Mandal Commission.
According to sources, the consultations between the NCBC and the ministry of social justice has reached a final stage with the panel recommending this sub-grouping within the OBC segment to ensure that the economically well-off backward castes don’t avail the benefits and facilities meant for those deserving poor in the OBC segment.
This idea of ‘sub-categorisation’ will address the long-pending grievance that the forwards among the backwards are cornering the 27% job quota as recommended by the Mandal panel as the latter are not able to compete due to poor economic and social background.
Now as per the plan suggested by the NCBC, the backward classes would be divided into sub-groups with communities with similar level of social and economic backwardness to be clubbed together and allotted a part of the 27% quota. The quantum of job quota allocated to each sub-group would be in proportion to their population.
This move of sub-categorisation in the OBC segment would ensure that the forwards among the backwards compete only with each other and not try to monopolise the entire 27% quota. Also, this suggestion from the NCBC would enable the backwards among the backwards to compete with each other on a level-playing field.
The sub-categorisation of OBCs is demanded by the weaker castes as they complain that the forwards had taken away their share of the reservation quota.
In the run up to the Bihar assembly polls to be followed by elections in Uttar Pradesh, the issue of sub-categorisation has assumed political sensitivity as it may realign the loyalty of social groups.
Ahead of Bihar assembly elections to be followed by Uttar Pradesh, known as Mandal strongholds, the issue has a political sensitivity because of its potential to realign the loyalty of social groups.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has to take a call on this politically sensitive issue of sub-categoriation of the OBC quota which will polarise the numerically stronger but extremely backwards against the forwards Yadavs and Kurmis who are represented by BJP rivals chief minister Nitish Kumar (Bihar), Mulayam Singh Yadav (UP) and Lalu Prasad (Bihar).