Mandal Commission Current Affairs
Union Home Ministry has announced that Census 2021 for the first time in independent India will collect data on Other Backwards Castes (OBCs). This comes more than 25 years after implementation of 27% reservation for OBCs based on Mandal Commission’s recommendations on basis of last castes data collected in 1931 census.
This decision was taken in meeting the roadmap for undertaking the Census in 2021 chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The meeting also put special emphasis on improvements in design and technological interventions to ensure that data is finalised within three years of the conduct of the 2021 Census. This census data on OBCs will play an important role in such a sub-categorisation.
In 1953, President under Article 340 had set up first Backward Classes Commission under chairmanship of Kaka Kelkar to identify backward classes other than SCs and STs at the national level. But its conclusion that caste is important measure of backwardness was rejected on ground that it had failed to apply more objective criteria such as income and literacy.
Later in January 1979, second Backward Classes Commission headed by B P Mandal (famously known as Mandal Commission) was appointed by then Janata Party government under Prime Minister Morarji Desai to consider the question of reservations for people to redress caste discrimination, and used eleven social, economic, and educational indicators to determine backwardness.
The Mandal Commission report had estimated OBC population at 52% and classified 1,257 communities as backward. It also had recommended increasing existing quotas, which were only for SC/ST, from 22.5% to 49.5% to include OBCs. Its recommendations including of reservation were implemented then V.P.Singh government in 1990,
The previous UPA government (under PM Manmohan Singh) had accepted demand for caste-based enumeration and undertaken Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) in 2011. However, data from SECC-2011 conducted at cost of Rs 4,893.60 crore was not made public for certain errors identified by Registrar General of India.
The Union Cabinet has approved second and final extension of term of Commission constituted to examine issue of Sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes in Central List for period of twelve weeks upto June, 2018. The Commission was constituted with approval of President under article 340 of Constitution in October, 2017. It is headed by Justice (Retd.) G. Rohini.
The commission was tasked to examine extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among castes included in broad category of OBCs, especially with reference to OBCs included in the Central list. It was also tasked to take up exercise of identifying respective castes/sub-castes/communities synonyms in Central List of OBCs and classify them into their respective sub-categories. It mandate was to work out mechanism, norms, criteria and parameters, in scientific approach, for sub-categorization within such OBCs.
Since its inception, the commission has interacted with all States/UTs which have subcategorized OBCs and State Backward Classes Commissions. It also has requisitioned data from Higher Education Institutions regarding admission of OBCs to higher education courses as well as data regarding recruitment of OBC persons in Government jobs to assess magnitude of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among castes and communities included in Centre List of OBCs.