Not all castes among the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), entitled to reservations are reaping the same benefits. The Indian Express reported today that 97 per cent of all jobs and admissions, reserved under the OBC category have been claimed by just under 25 per cent of sub-castes. 983 communities --37 per cent of the total -- did not get a single job or admission, the report said.
Interestingly, just 10 communities in the OBC category have availed of as much as 24.95 per cent of jobs and admissions. As many as 994 OBC sub-castes have a total representation of only 2.68 per cent in recruitment and admissions.
The job data covers recruitment in several government departments in last five years including Railways, Department of Posts, several Central Police Forces, many Central public sector enterprises, public sector banks, insurance organisations and many Central services and All India Services like Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Central Secretariat services.
The prime beneficiaries of reservation include Yadav, Kurmi, Jat (Jats of Rajasthan except those of Bharatpur and Dholpur district are in central OBC list), Saini, Thevar, Ezhava and Vokkaliga.
This skew in OBC benefits is the key finding in a consultation paper prepared by the commission to examine sub-categorisation of OBCs.
The commission, appointed in October 2017, analysed data of 1,30,000 Central jobs given under OBC quota over the last five years and OBC admissions to central higher education institutions, including universities, IITs, NITs, IIMs and AIIMS, over the last three years.
The commission's term was extended last week to May 31, 2019.
Data also reveals that the share of several states in OBC quotas is much higher than their share in the population of India — there are many states with much lower share in benefits than their share in the population.
In effect, the inequity across states and Union Territories is almost as acute as across different castes and communities when it comes to OBC quota benefits.
The commission, headed by former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court G. Rohini, has sent these findings to all Chief Secretaries and State OBC Commissions for their views.
“We have received the report and are preparing our comments,” The Indian Express quoted a state Chief Secretary as saying.
The Commission has proposed to “sub-categorise” the OBCs so that equal representation can be ensured.
“The key idea is not to create a new hierarchy among OBCs but a more level playing field for all keeping in mind their numbers, their backwardness and their regional spread. How we do this without alienating existing beneficiaries is the challenge that we face,” an official in a state OBC commission was quoted as saying.
The Commission has told states that it would be improper and unjust to use ascribed or perceived social status, traditional occupation and religion as criteria for sub-categorisation.
It has proposed to divide the Central quota of reservation among different sub-categories on the basis of their relative all-India population of the castes and communities placed in these sub-categories.
Interestingly, while 10 states/UTs have adopted some kind of sub-categorisation for their OBC lists, none of those state/UTs seems to have proposed any clearly articulated criterion for placing a community in one category or the other.