ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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OBCs and Equity in Reservations

The recommendation by the National Commission for Backward Classes for dividing Other Backward Classes (OBC) on the basis of their actual backwardness may benefit a few more other than the “creamy layer.” However, such a move will further complicate the delivery of affirmative action, which may have an alarming ripple effect—agitations from multiple sides—and it would face challenging questions on the existing fallacies as far as the impact of reservations among Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are concerned. Such a move to further divide the 27% quota by sub-categorisation of castes, groups, etc, will only create another “creamy layer” within a decade or two, thereby calling for further divisions and fractions of quotas senselessly.

Affirmative action has so far brought two results. One, the creation of a “creamy layer” in every group or community, and two, caste-, group- and community-based politics around reservation quotas. The nation should undoubtedly continue with affirmative action policies/quotas to mainstream the marginalised. But, just categorising or sub-categorising caste- or group-based quotas will only mean further exploitation of weaker groups within the same castes/groups. Therefore, economically weaker sections must be the sole target of the government, and the aim must be inclusion of all the marginalised. Further dividing quotas will proliferate caste, group and community politics, and excessive politicisation of the very idea of welfare will stoke mutual hatred and will prolong exclusion. The need of the hour is to appoint a commission to assess the relevance of and need for reservations/affirmative action among various castes, groups or communities based on the economic, social and educational welfare in the present context. Merely further dividing groups/castes along the lines of backwardness will create another “creamy layer,” thereby again posing the pertinent question of the perpetual problems of delivery of quotas, which have so far given us nothing but a “creamy layer.”

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