Mandal Commission Current Affairs - 2020

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Cabinet extends tenure of Commission constituted to examine issue of OBC sub-categorisation

Union Cabinet has approved extension of term of Commission to examine issue of Sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in Central List for six months beyond 30th November, 2018 and till 31st May 2019. This is fourth extension granted to commission for submission of its politically crucial report on creating quotas within quotas.


Union Government with approval of President had constituted five member Commission under article 340 of Constitution in October, 2017. It is headed by former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Justice (Retd) G. Rohini. Its report is expected to recommend earmarking sub-quotas for the extremely backward classes within the OBCs.

The commission has been formed under Article 340 of the Constitution which was also used to establish landmark Mandal Commission (set up in 1979) more than two decades ago which recommended 27% reservation for socially and educationally backward classes in higher education and government jobs. Over the years, benefits of this reservation were mostly cornered mostly by dominant OBC groups.

Even National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) had in 2015 had noted that unequals cannot be treated equally and recommended that OBCs be categorised into extremely backward classes, more backward classes and backward classes. At present, 11 states have sub-categorised OBCs for their state services. Centre based on devise a similar methodology for the central OBC list

Mandate of Sub-categorisation commission

It is tasked to examine extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among castes included in broad category of OBC in central government jobs and educational institutions especially with reference to OBCs included in Central list. It is 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 is mandated was to work out mechanism, norms, criteria and parameters, in scientific approach, for sub-categorization within such OBCs.

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Census 2021 for first time to collect data on Other Backwards Castes

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.

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