New Delhi: The Union government has no records of office expenditure incurred by the Commission for the sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) since September 2021. The Justice G. Rohini Commission for the sub-categorisation was given 12 weeks to submit a report, but has so far received 14 extensions – the most recent one this January.
This information has emerged as responses to the Right to Information requests by The Hindu.
The Commission was formed in 2017 to sub-categorise 3,000 OBC caste groups and recommend a quota, proportionate to their numbers, needs and backwardness, among them. The panel is headed by former Chief Justice of the Delhi high court, Justice G. Rohini (retd.) and is known as the Rohini Commission.
J.K. Bajaj of the Centre for Policy Studies is also a member. A director of the Anthropological Survey of India and the Registrar General of India are ex-officio members and a joint secretary of the Social Justice Ministry is the secretary of the Commission.
Expenditure records accessed under the Right to Information Act, 2005 “showed that Rs 3,75,53,250 was spent on salaries and allowances for the chairperson and member and Rs 26,04,775 was spent on salaries for consultants from October 2017 to April 2023,” reports The Hindu.
The government said it had spent Rs 7.2 lakh on “office expenditure and others” for the panel between October 2017 and August 2021, but it said that it has no records of office expenditure after that period.
The expenditure for the Commission was being taken care of by the National Commission for Backward Classes from October 2017 to August 2021. Following this, the expenditure for the Commission started coming directly from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Weeks before the Commission had been given its latest extension in the beginning of 2023, there were media reports that the Commission had completed the work it had set out to do, with sources saying it was just working on “finalising” the report and “adding annexures”.
Before this, the government had attributed the delay to the COVID-19 pandemic. The current deadline for the Commission to submit its report is July 31.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has often made political claims that ‘certain’ OBC castes have been hogging reservation benefits. This Commission was appointed to ostensibly pin-point the skew and provide a break-up of the existing reservation pie in accordance with sub-categories of OBC groups.