Context: The cabinet has approved a 6 months extension of the term of the Commission to examine the issue of Sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes in the central list.

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  • Earlier the commission was required to submit its report by 31st July 2020 but owing to the lockdown it got an extension of 6 months till 31st January 2021.

About the Commission:

  • The Commission was constituted under Article 340 of the Constitution with the approval of the President on 2nd October 2017 under the chairmanship of Justice G. Rohini.
  • Its objective is to find out the communities which are a part of the Central OBC list but have not been able to reap the benefits of 27% OBC reservation in Central Government jobs and Central Universities.
  • It is required to suggest whether a sub-categorization of the list is required for ensuring equitable distribution of benefits among OBC communities.

Other Backward Class:

  • It is a collective term used by the Government of India to classify castes that are educationally or socially disadvantaged. 
  • The OBCs were found to comprise 52% of the country's population by the Mandal Commission report of 1980 and were determined to be 41% in 2006 when the National Sample Survey Organisation took place.
  • In the Indian Constitution, OBCs are described as "socially and educationally backward classes" due to which they are entitled to 27% reservations in public sector employment and higher education. 
  • The list of OBCs maintained by the Indian Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is dynamic, with castes and communities being added or removed depending on social, educational and economic factors. 


Article 340:

  • It empowers the President to constitute a commission to look into the matters concerning OBCs and suggest measures to improve the condition.
  • The commission is required to submit a report to the President regarding the matters investigated by it including suggestions if any.
  • The President is further required to lay the report before Parliament along with a memorandum explaining the course of action taken/ to be taken.


Reservation in India:

  • It is a system of affirmative action that provides representation for historically and currently disadvantaged groups in Indian society w.r.t to education, employment and politics. 
  • Under Articles 15 and 16 of the Indian Constitution, it allows the government to set quotas to ensure any "socially and educationally backward classes of citizens" is properly represented in public life. 
  • It is intended to realize the promise of equality enshrined in the Preamble of our Constitution.
  • Article 15(4) allows the state to make special provisions for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
  • Article 16(4) allows the state to make special provisions for the reservation of appointments or posts in favor of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.
  • The Indira Sawhney Case recognized socially and economically backward classes as a category and recognized the validity of the 27 percent reservation. 
    • It laid down a 50 percent limit on reservations and observed that economic, social and educational criteria were needed to define backward classes.
  • Current Reservation System -
    • Scheduled Castes (SCs) - 15%
    • Scheduled Tribes (STs) - 7.5%
    • Other Backward Classes (OBCs) - 27%
    • Economic Weaker Sections (EWS) - 10% 


https://pib.gov.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=209699#:~:text=The Union Cabinet chaired by,6 months i.e. upto 31.1.

Image Source: The Hindu