Monday, May 29, 2006

Who are the OBCs?...

It is surprising - or perhaps not so, given the "uneducated literacy" in the country - that a large number of people on either side of the reservation debate have little idea about the definition of OBCs.

This results in, e.g., a false debate on whether the reservations should be based on "economic criteria" or "caste".

Most people don't know - or care to find out - that the very definition of OBCs, however, was/is not based on genetic heredity. Rather, it is based on multiple criteria which consider not just the social (or caste-based) deprivation, but also on educational and economic deprivation...


According to Mandal Commission:

The backward Castes/Classes were defined on the following 11 criteria:

A. SOCIAL

  • Castes/classes considered as socially backward by others.

  • Castes/classes which mainly depend on manual labour for their livelihood.

  • Castes/classes where the percentage of married women below 17 is 25% above the state average in rural areas and 10% in urban areas; and that of married men is 10% and 5% above the state average in rural and urban areas respectively.

  • Castes/classes where participation of females in work is at least 25% above the state average.

    B. EDUCATIONAL
  • Castes/classes where the number of children in the age group of 5 to 15 years who never attended school is at least 25% above the state average.

  • Castes/classes where the rate of student drop-out in the age group of 5-15 years is at least 25% above the state average.

  • Castes/classes amongst whom the proportion of matriculates is at least 25% below the state average

    C. ECONOMIC
  • Castes/classes where the average value of family assets is at least 25% below the state average.

  • Castes/classes where the number of families living in kachcha houses is at least 25 % above the state average.

  • Castes/classes where the source of drinking water is beyond half a kilometer for more than 50% of the households.

  • Castes/classes where the number of the house-holds having taken a consumption loan is at least 25% above the state average.


    According to National Commission for Backward Classes:

    The commission, after studying the criteria/indicators framed by the Mandal commission and the commissions set up in the past by different state Governments and other relevant materials, formulated the following guidelines for considering requests for inclusion in the list of Other Backward Classes:

    A. SOCIAL
    1. Castes and communities, generally considered as socially backward.

    2.
  • Castes and communities, which mainly depend on agricultural and/or other manual labour for their livelihood and are lacking any significant resource base.

  • Castes and communities, which, for their livelihood, mainly depend on agricultural and/or other manual labour for wage and are lacking any significant base.

  • Castes and communities, the women of which, as a general practice, are for their family’s livelihood, engaged in agricultural and/or other manual labour, for wage.

  • Castes and communities, the children of which, as a general practice, are, for family’s livelihood or for supplementing family’s low income, mainly engaged in agricultural and/or manual labour.

  • Castes and communities, which in terms of caste system, are identified with traditional crafts or traditional or hereditary occupations considered to be lowly or undignified.

  • Castes and communities, which in terms of the caste system, are identified with tradtional or hereditary occupations considered to be ‘unclean’ or stigmatised.

  • Nomadic and semi-nomadic castes and communities.

  • Denotified or Vimukta Jati castes and communities

    3. Castes and communities, having no representation or poor representation in the State Legislative Assembly and/or district-level Panchayati Raj institutions during the ten years preceding the date of the application
    (The term “poor representation” may be taken to refer to a caste or community whose presence in the body is less than 25% of its proportion in the population.)

    B. EDUCATIONAL
    1. Castes and communities, whose literacy rate is at least 8% less than the State or district average.

    2. Castes and communities of which the proportion of matriculates is at least 20% less than the State or district average.

    3. Castes and communities, of which the proportion of graduates is at least 20% less than the State or district average.


    C. ECONOMIC
    1. Castes and communities, a significant proportion of whose members reside only in Kachha houses.

    2. Castes and communities, the share of whose members in number of cases and in extent of agricultural lands surrendered under the Agricultural Land Ceiling Act of the State, is nil or significantly low.

    3. Castes and communities, the share of whose members in State Government posts and services of Groups A & B/Classes I & II, is not equal to the population-equivalent proportion of the caste/community.

    Moral of the Story:
    Intellectual brilliance/moral superiority is not a substitute for ignorance of facts ;0)

  • 10 comments:

    Anonymous said...

    Hey thanks for enlightening me on my "uneducated literacy"...
    after reading such a long post I wonder why my OBC class mates in Anna University who don’t fit the bill in either Social/Economic/Educational classifications and are still called OBC's...
    Nah dude, wake up...Intellectual brilliance/moral superiority is not a substitute for ignorance of ground reality ;0)

    Anonymous said...

    Dear Sir,
    I am from Tamilnadu and I may be called an "educated illiterate" as far as other states are concerned. But atleast in Tamilnadu, I believe that the BC and MBC lists include sections whose majority cannot claim to be backward in any of the social/economic/educational aspects cited by you.

    If one's caste has the political clout, then one can get it included in whatever list one wants.

    I see people arguing for reservation always citing the 'minority within their caste, who are not given the privileges' always as examples and the people arguing against reservation 'citing the poor people in their castes' as the example.
    In the BC classes, I am sure if we make a check only the well-off people get to use these privileges while the oppressed minority within them continue to remain backward. So is this right?
    Same thing holds for the so-called upper castes. The people who fight may be the rich elite among them who have all the other opportunities and just need abolishment of reservation for improving their chances.
    So the first among equals in backward class and forward class only reap the fruits whichever way the decision is made.

    I feel that a fair decision is to keep the reservation for say may be 10 years till (2016) or even 15 years (2021)and after that all should be treated EQUAL.
    Also within this period, one should be allowed to use the reservation ONLY ONCE in his life time.
    Otherwise though India will not go down the drain, we will not appear to be a nation fair to all its citizens.

    Anonymous said...

    Dear Sir,
    Continuing my previous comment, I think our govt should sincerely rise above the vote politics and sincerely ensure that education is given to all children secondary level and it should get this implemented within 2 years. Once we provide the basic education, most of us are the social upliftment will automatically follow. But now by providing reservation endlessly we are infact doing the opposite.

    Albert Krishna Ali said...

    Oh we've mentioned all this stuff on www.theotherindia.org long ago but nobody wants to read this. All they want to know is the NSSO data :)

    Anonymous said...

    Come on, this a very lame argument. As some of the other comments point out, a caste belongs to a OBC category does not imply that all those who belong to the caste belong to the same socio-economic category. "Ground reality" is that most of the reserved seats are captured by those who are already well off socio-economically. And more often than not, they belong to a "second generation" - their parents have already benefited from this reservation.

    Neela said...

    Dear Prof Madhukar

    Given the criteria, I am curious to know how many forward castes are included in the definition of OBCs as per Mandal. Would you know where one can obtain these data from?

    Thanks

    Neela

    Madhukar said...

    Dear Neela:
    The National Commission for Backward Classes maintains a list of OBCs (state-wise). It is available at:
    http://ncbc.nic.in/backward-classes/index.htm

    Doctor Bruno said...

    Why are those who are against Reservations worried about Creamy Layer of OBC....

    Can any one answer this question

    Doctor Bruno said...

    This creamy layer is something that is going to be done within OBC....

    This is essentially to make sure that the benefits of Reservation go to the downtrodden in BC and not the sons of IAS officers.....
    Now will get benefitted by Creamy Layer concept.. The poor BC and MBC Candidates

    Will the seats in General Pool increase or decrease due to Creamy Layer . NO... No increase or no decrease
    Why then is the forward caste lobby asking for Creamy Layer.....
    Forward Castes have no right in this section....

    I can understand Forward Caste people saying "no reservations" (as their seats are going to be given to OBC, but why do they care about this Creamy layer

    Think for yourself and you will know the real intention......

    Nitesh said...

    Dear Sir,

    Thanks for the article. It truly enlightens on the variety of factors considered for determining a 'caste' as OBC.
    An issue that could need further probing is within the caste how can one differentiate between those who need reservation and those not.