Delay in OBC sub-categorisation report as panel is finalising ‘disambiguation’, says Centre

The Justice G. Rohini-led Commission, tasked with finding out which of the nearly 3,000 castes in the OBC grouping dominated reservations, was constituted in 2017

February 09, 2023 04:05 am | Updated 04:05 am IST - New Delhi

 A. Narayanaswamy, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment.

A. Narayanaswamy, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment. | Photo Credit: S.S. Kumar

The Union government on Wednesday said that the Justice G. Rohini-led Commission on sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBC) was taking so long because it was currently finalising the “disambiguation” exercise of the entries (caste names) in the existing Central List of OBCs. 

The Commission, constituted in October 2017, was tasked with finding out which of the nearly 3,000 castes in the OBC grouping dominated reservations and other benefits, and recommending a sub-categorisation of these caste groups so that those caste groups that have been historically pushed out could secure the reservation meant for them. 

The Commission was initially given 12 weeks to finish its work and submit a report to the government. However, in January this year, the panel’s tenure was extended by another six months — for the fourteenth time. 

On Wednesday, replying to a question in Rajya Sabha from YSRCP MP Masthan Rao Beeda, Minister of State for Social Justice A. Narayanaswamy said, “One of the Terms of Reference of the Rohini Commission, established in October 2017, is ‘to study the various entries in the Central List of OBCs and recommend correction of any repetitions, ambiguities, inconsistencies, and errors of spelling or transcription’.”

“They are in the process of finalisation of the disambiguation of the existing Central list of OBCs, which requires some more time,” Mr. Narayanaswamy added.

However, sources aware of the commission’s workings told The Hindu that the panel’s task has been completed and that they are now just “finalising annexures” to their report. 

In December 2022, one member of the commission had said that the report was nearly ready and the panel intended to submit it to the government by January 31, 2023. Less than a week before this deadline, the Social Justice Ministry issued the notification, announcing the six-month extension in the commission’s tenure.

The sources added that the Commission had come up with a model to categorise OBCs into four broad groups, with the maximum share of the 27% quota pie going to the group that has been the most-underrepresented since OBC reservation was introduced, and the minimum share going to the caste groups that have dominated this space since.

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