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Banthia Commission recommends Census to fix exact data of OBCs

The caste Census to determine the exact percentage of the OBCs has become a contagious political issue. Maharashtra state legislature has already passed a unanimous resolution seeking caste Census.

The caste Census to determine the exact percentage of the OBCs has become a contagious political issue. (Representational/File)

Maintaining that there is a need for Backward Classes of Citizens (BCC) or Other Backward Classes (OBC) reservation in the Assembly as well as in Parliament like local bodies, the dedicated commission for OBC reservation in Maharashtra has made a recommendation to “devise a similar methodology” like decadal Census to compile data for the community.

“In local bodies, reservation for the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) are given on the basis of their population data statutorily derived from the decadal Census. Similarly, for the Backward Classes of Citizens, it would be more appropriate to devise a similar methodology and compile the data for the Backward Classes of Citizens for each local body,” read the recommendation of the commission chaired by former Maharashtra chief secretary Jayant Banthia.

The caste Census to determine the exact percentage of the OBCs has become a contagious political issue. Maharashtra state legislature has already passed a unanimous resolution seeking caste Census. Similar demands have been raised by Opposition parties in states like Bihar.
A recommendation from Banthia commission to this extent is likely to further boost the demand, especially after the report has estimated the OBC population at 37 per cent. The activists and OBC organisations have though objected to this, claiming that the figure is erroneous and much lower than what it is in reality.

The report, in one of its conclusions, has said that the provision of reservation may be kept for the OBCs in the state legislature and Parliament as in the case of local self-governments. “One thing that becomes indisputably clear through the divisional level hearings by the Commission after studying representations received is that most of the person’s/social institutions/organisations of the political parties (insisted) on continuation of the reservation further, in the local self-government to the extent of 27 per cent for the BCCs, which was in operation before… That the caste-wise census may be conducted with a view to get representation relative to their population to this category. And the provision of reservation may be kept for the BCCs in the state legislature and Parliament, also like the local self-government.”

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The report, though calculated the total OBC population at around 37 per cent at the state level, it noted that it is different in each local body. Based on that, in local bodies where the proportion of population of SCs and STs are more than 50 per cent, OBCs won’t get any political reservation.

In other cases, the total reservation has been restricted up to 50 per cent and OBCs would get the reservation based on their proportion in population or 27 per cent, whichever is less.

Using this criteria, Gadchiroli, Nandurbar and Palghar Zilla parishads, too, won’t have any OBC reservation. Similarly, Bhamragad and Etapalli nagar panchayat in Gadchiroli; Salekasa in Gondia; Dhadgaon in Nandurbar; Peint and Surgana in Nasik; Mokhada, Talasari and Vikramgad in Palghar and Zari Jamni in Yavatmal will have no OBC reservation.

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In addition, Akole Panchayat Samiti in Ahmadnagar; Chikhaldara and Dharni in Amaravati; Jeoti in Chandrapur; Sakri and Shirpur in Dhule; Aheri, Bhamragad, Dhanora, Etapalli, Korchi and Sironcha in Gadchiroli; Dindori, Kalwan, Peth, Surgana and Trimbakeshwar in Nasik; Dahanu, Jawhar, Mokhada, Talasari, Wada and Vikramgad in Palghar and all panchayat samitis in Nadurbar will have no OBC reservation.

First published on: 23-07-2022 at 00:47 IST
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