Caste

Modi Government Planning to Introduce Sub-Quotas in OBC Reservations

Although the idea is still at a “very nascent stage”, it is apparently on the agenda of some top-level officials.

This plan may help with the BJP's agenda to try and woo the extremely backward classes. Credit: PTI

This plan may help with the BJP’s agenda to try and woo the extremely backward classes. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government is planning to revamp OBC reservations by creating sub-quotas, in order to ensure that dominant OBC castes do not get all the benefits, Indian Express reported.

According to what government sources told the newspaper, this idea is still at a “very nascent stage”, but is on the agenda of some top-level officials. “There are two potential ways to explore it [the sub-categorisation]. Either through a commission for sub-categorisation/classification on a socio-economic basis within OBCs or by re-constituting the NCBC [National Commission for Backward Classes] with a term of reference for sub-classification,” Indian Express quoted an unnamed source as saying.

These plans have come to light even as the NCBC failed to be granted constitutional status in the monsoon session of parliament, after opposition parties raised various objections to and pressed for amendments. The issue will be raised again in the winter session.

While the Centre has not sub-categorised OBCs before, certain states like Bihar already have a sub-categorised OBC reservation system, or a quota within a quota. If the Centre also moves to such a model, it is likely to face opposition from dominant OBC groups and the regional parties who count on their support, Indian Express reported. However, it may help with the BJP’s agenda to try and woo the extremely backward classes.

In Andhra Pradesh (before the creation of Telangana), courts stalled the initiation of an OBC sub-quota system, saying religion-based quotas are not permitted.

If finalised, the Centre’s decision will be a significant addition to the Mandal Commission-based OBC reservation regulations.