Mains Daily Question
Feb. 8, 2021

  1. The Union Cabinet has approved the extension of the term of Justice G. Rohini Commission to examine the issue of Sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes, by 6 months i.e. upto 31.1.2021. Discuss the significance and limitations of such an exercise.


  • Introduce with what sub-categorization means

  • Identify the merits of sub-categorization

  • Highlight the limitaitons in the exercise

  • Conclude appropriately

Model Answer

Sub-categorization of OBCs seeks to divide the central OBC list into sub-groups in accordance with their socio-economic parameters in order to arrive at a correct perspective on the social status of different OBC population in the country. To this end,  the Union govenrment has constituted a Commission under article 340 of the Constitution to examine the issue of sub-categorization of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

Significance for sub-categorization

  • Equitable distribution of benefits: The exercise of sub-categorization will help sub-categories within the central OBC list apportion the 27% reservation benefit in proportion to their share in the OBC population. Sub-categorization of OBC population essentially reduces the eligible population, thereby helping in equitable distribution of reservation benefits.

  • Identification of right beneficiaries:While the OBC population constitutes 44% of the population, the reservation policies extended to them are limited in scope, requiring the identification of right beneficiaries.

  • The benefits of the reservation in OBCs are being cornered mostly by the dominant OBC groups over the years so there is a need to recognise sub-quotas for the extremely backward classes within the OBCs.


  • Data: The data on OBC headcount, necessary for sub-categorization exercise is unavailable. The data from Socio-Economic Caste Census 2011 is full of anomalies with more than 46 lakh distinct caste and sub-caste names, making it difficult to interpret.

  • Can only benefit a few: While the number of disadvantaged form a very large segment of Indian society, government jobs and seats in education will always be limited. Reservation benefits, even after the exercise, can only help a few people.

Way Forward

It is more important to eliminate caste-based disadvantages, with focus on eliminating discrimination and ensuring benefits of reservation are wide spread among the disadvantaged groups. Improvement in social services can help address the impact of discrimination from early stage of life. The sub-categorization exercise could potentially lead to ensure better data on caste-based disadvantages so that benefits of reservation can be more widely spread.  


Subjects : Social Issues
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