Minority Issues – SC, ST, Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

80 Castes to be added to Central OBC List


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: OBCs, NCBC

Mains level: Read the attached story

Central Idea

  • National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) is processing the approval for adding approximately 80 castes from six states to the Central List of Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) also reported the addition of 16 communities to the Central OBC list in Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir.

About National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC)

Established Constitution Act, 2018 (also known as 102nd Amendment Act, 2018) under Article 338B of the Indian Constitution
Jurisdiction Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India
Purpose Active participation and advisory role in the socio-economic development of socially backward classes (OBCs)

Evaluating the progress of their development

Statutory Backing Outcome of the Indra Sawhney & Others v. Union of India case (16.11.1992)
Composition Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, and three other members appointed by the President

Conditions of service and tenure determined by the President

Functions and Powers Inclusions and exclusions in the lists of backward communities for job reservations

Providing advice to the Central Government

Investigating and monitoring safeguards for backward classes

Inquiring into specific complaints related to their rights and safeguards

Participating in socio-economic development and evaluating progress

Reports and Recommendations Annual reports to the President and recommendations for effective implementation of safeguards

Recommendations for measures to protect, welfare, and socio-economic development of backward classes

Other Functions Discharging functions specified by the President and subject to parliamentary laws
Constitutional Amendment 102nd Constitutional Amendment Act (2018) empowered NCBC to address grievances of Other Backward Classes


Who are the Other Backward Classes (OBCs)?

  • Other Backward Class is a collective term used to classify castes which are educationally or socially disadvantaged.
  • It is one of several official classifications of the population of India, along with General Class, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCs and STs).
  • The OBCs were found to comprise 55% of the country’s population by the Mandal Commission report of 1980, and were determined to be 41% in 2006.

Communities likely to be added

States like Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana have proposed communities to be added to the Central OBC list.

  1. Telangana: Suggested the addition of around 40 communities.
  2. Andhra Pradesh: Turup Kapu community
  3. Himachal Pradesh: Majhra community
  4. Maharashtra: Lodhi, Lingayat, Bhoyar, Pawar, and Jhandse communities
  5. Punjab: Yadav community
  6. Haryana: Gosai/Gosain community

Approval Process

  • NCBC Examination: The NCBC examines the requests and processes them accordingly, aiming for most of them to be approved.
  • Cabinet Approval: Once the Commission decides, it can send its recommendations to the Cabinet for approval.
  • Notification by President: The final step involves legislation and notification by the President to enact the changes.

How is the process different from SC/ST list updation?

  • Unlike the procedure for adding communities to the SC or ST lists, the addition of communities to the Central OBC list does not require the concurrence of the Office of the Registrar General of India or any other authority.
  • The Commission follows guidelines established by the Mandal Commission in 1979, considering social, educational, and economic indicators for additions to the Central OBC list.

Current Status of OBC List and Recent Additions

  • The Central OBC list currently includes over 2,650 different communities from all states and union territories.
  • The Union government takes credit for recent additions and highlights the 105th Constitutional Amendment, which protects state OBC communities from being deprived of benefits.
  • There are currently about 1,270 communities listed in the Scheduled Caste (SC) list and 748 communities in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) list.

Changes in the SC and ST Lists

  • Since the last Census in 2011, four communities have been added to the SC list as main entries, 40 as sub-entries, and four have been dropped or moved to other lists.
  • Similarly, in the ST list, five communities were added as main entries, 22 as sub-entries, 13 as substitute terms, and one was dropped.

Impact of OBC List Additions

  • Broader representation: Adding more castes to the Central OBC list ensures broader representation and access to reserved seats and benefits for disadvantaged communities.
  • Social upliftment: The inclusion of additional communities acknowledges their backwardness and provides opportunities for social upliftment and empowerment.

Challenges and Criticisms

  • Political motivation: The process may face challenges and criticisms, such as concerns over potential political motivations or inaccuracies in identifying backwardness.
  • Issue of parity: Ensuring transparency, fairness, and inclusivity in the decision-making process is essential to address these challenges and maintain the integrity of the OBC list.


  • The reservation system and OBC list play a significant role in promoting social equality by providing opportunities for historically marginalized communities.
  • The continuous evaluation and expansion of the OBC list reflect the government’s commitment to creating a more inclusive society and addressing historical injustices.

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