Possible Impact of Sub-Quota in OBC Reservation

Recently the union cabinet has approved setting up of a commission under Article 340 to examine whether sub-quotas need to be created within central list of OBC reservation. The creamy layer ceiling for the OBC category has been increased from existing Rs 6 lakh to Rs 8 lakh per annum for central government jobs by cabinet. A proposal to extend the creamy layer decision to the PSUs was under “active consideration” of the government.

Article-340: The President may by order appoint a Commission (a) to investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes within the territory of India and the difficulties under which they labour (b) to make recommendations as to the steps that should be taken by the Union or any State to remove such difficulties and to improve their condition (c) to recommend the grants that should be made for the purpose by the Union or any State

Terms of reference of commission

1. To examine the extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among the castes/ communities included in the broad category of OBCs in the Central list.

2. To work out the mechanism, criteria, norms and parameters, in a scientific approach, for sub-categorization within such OBCs.

3. To identify the castes/communities in the Central List of OBCs and classifying them into their respective sub-categories.

Arguments in favor of sub-quotas

1. The National Commission for Backward Classes had given a similar proposal in 2011.

2. The Supreme Court in its order in Indra Sawhney case observed that there is no Constitutional or legal bar to a State categorizing backward classes.

Possible impacts if sub-quota is implemented

1. It will ensure that dominant OBC castes do not get all the benefits as the most backward OBC groups will compete among themselves for government jobs, educational seats etc. rather than with the better-off OBC castes.

2. It may trigger political churning that could bring together a coalition of non-dominant castes, seen by some as Mandal 2.0 moment for Indian politics

3. It may adversely impact the more advanced castes among the OBCs as sub-category quota can come only from within 27% quota pie because of 50% cap to total reservation by Supreme Court.

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