07-12-2018-Jobs, admissions: 97 per cent of Central OBC quota benefits go to just under 25 per cent of its case

The Indian Express: 07.12.2018

Almost 97 per cent of all jobs and admissions reserved at the Central level for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) has gone to just under a quarter of all sub-castes classified as OBCs. As many as 983 OBC communities — 37 per cent of the total — have zero representation which means not a single job, not a single seat. And just 10 communities of OBCs have availed of as much as 24.95 per cent of jobs and admissions.

Sources said the groups that are among the prime beneficiaries includes 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 Indian Express has learnt.

The commission, appointed in October 2017 — its term was extended last week to May 31, 2019 — analysed data of 1.3 lakh 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.

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.

As many as 994 OBC sub-castes have a total representation of only 2.68 per cent in recruitment and admissions, sources said. 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.

To correct this skew and ensure a more level playing field, the Commission has proposed to “sub-categorise” the OBCs. In other words, 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.

While reservation in jobs for OBCs was implemented in 1993, reservations in admissions in Central government institutions (both 27 per cent) was implemented during the UPA 1 government in 2006.

The job data covers recruitment in several Government departments 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.

A state Chief Secretary told The Indian Express: “We have received the report and are preparing our comments.” Sources say that the data of recruitment covers the recruitment of last five years in Raliways, Department of Posts, several Central Police Forces, many central public sector enterprises, many public sector banks, insurance organisations and many central services and All India Services like Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Services (IPS) and central secretariat services in five years. Similarly, it covers almost all of the admissions taken place based on OBC reservation in these institutions in last three years.

Sources said that the Commission is concerned that none of the available sources provides a reliable estimate of the population of individual castes and communities included in the Central list. 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.

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.

Said an official in a state OBC commission who has received the report: “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.”

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