Inclusion of 80 Castes in OBC List by NCBC

Current Affairs, Polity & Governance

Why in News:

The National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) is currently processing the approval request for approximately 80 additional castes in six States (Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana) to be included in the OBC list.

Important Points:

Other Backward Class (OBC):

  • OBC comprises socially and educationally backward classes of citizens.
  • The Supreme Court has ruled that the “creamy layer,” referring to socially and economically advanced individuals within the OBC category, should not be eligible for reservations.

Role of National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC):

  • NCBC is a statutory body responsible for reviewing proposals for caste inclusion in the Central OBC list.
  • The commission forms a Bench to assess the proposals and forwards its decisions to the Union government.
  • Once approved by the cabinet, legislation is enacted, and the President notifies the changes.

Constitutional Provisions:

  • Article 15(4) empowers the state to make special provisions for the advancement of socially and educationally backward classes, including OBCs. These provisions include reservation of seats in educational institutions, financial assistance, scholarships, and housing.
  • Article 16(4) allows the state to enact laws for the reservation of appointments or posts in favor of OBCs.

Achievements of the Union Government:

  • Since 2014, the government has added 16 communities to the Central OBC list in Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The 105th Amendment to the Constitution affirms states’ rights to maintain their own OBC lists, preserving the benefits for 671 State OBC communities.

About National Commission for Backward Classes:

  • The 102nd Constitution Amendment Act, 2018 provides constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).
  • It has the authority to address welfare claims and programs for socially and academically disadvantaged groups.
  • Previously, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment was responsible for the NCBC as a statutory organization.

Background of NCBC:

  • Two Backward Class Commissions were appointed in the 1950s and 1970s under Kaka Kalelkar and B.P. Mandal, respectively.
  • The Supreme Court ordered the government to establish a permanent committee to consider, investigate, and recommend the inclusion and exclusion of various Backward Classes for benefits and protection in the Indra Sawhney case of 1992.
  • The National Commission for Backward Classes Act was passed by parliament in 1993 in accordance with these directives, establishing the NCBC.
  • The 123rd Constitution Amendment bill of 2017 was introduced in Parliament to better protect the interests of underprivileged groups.
  • The National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993, was later repealed by a different law approved by Parliament, making the 1993 Act obsolete.
  • The bill received the President’s assent in August 2018 and granted constitutional status to NCBC.


The Commission consists of:

  • Chairperson
  • Vice-Chairperson
  • Three other Members in the rank and pay of Secretary to the Govt of India. • Their conditions of service and tenure of office have been notified by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. • NCBC is headquartered in Delhi.

Constitutional Provisions:

  • Article 340 deals with the need to identify “socially and educationally backward classes,” understand their backwardness, and make recommendations to address their difficulties.
  • The 102nd Constitution Amendment Act inserted new Articles 338B and 342A.
  • The amendment also brought changes in Article 366, and any amendment to the list of backward classes would require the process described in the Constitution.

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