The Justice Rohini Commission was constituted in October 2017. It was initially given 12 weeks to classify the different categories of the OBC community of India. The commission has been extended at least 14 times since 2017, the latest of which was in January this year.
New Delhi: The Central Government has revealed in Parliament that it has collated data from the last Socio-Economic Caste Census conducted 12 years ago by former Delhi High Court Chief Justice G. Rohini-led commission, which has been tasked with the sub-categorisation of OBCs.
On March 14, an unstarred question was asked by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP AKP Chinraj whether the government had submitted the Socio-Economic Caste Census data of 2011 to Justice G. Was shared with the commission headed by Rohini?
In response, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment A.K. Narayanaswamy said, ‘No, sir. Justice G. No such request has been received from the Rohini-led commission.
The Justice Rohini Commission was constituted by the President in October 2017 under Article 340 of the Constitution. It was initially given 12 weeks to classify about 3,000 caste groups of different categories of OBC community of India. The commission has been extended at least 14 times since 2017, the latest of which was in January this year.
The commission’s work is considered essential to ensure that deserving OBC groups are not under-represented in the list.
A report by The Indian Express in 2018 pointed out that 97 per cent of the jobs and educational posts reserved for OBCs at the central level went to less than a quarter of all OBC sub-castes and 938 people from OBC sub-castes were – which is 37 percent of the total number – they had no representation on the reserved seats.
This information given by the government in the Lok Sabha has come at a time when there has been a demand to conduct caste census in various states. The last census was held in 2011, while the intention was to conduct it every decade.
Experts and activists have time and again highlighted the need for caste census as the first step to ensure social justice.
The Socio-Economic Caste Census of 2011 was conducted under the Ministry of Rural Development. Then under the Manmohan Singh government, this was done through a door-to-door survey across the country under the chairmanship of Jairam Ramesh. This was the last time such an exercise was done.
In September 2021, the Narendra Modi-led central government had rejected the Socio-Economic Caste Census, saying it was impractical, ‘administratively difficult and cumbersome’.
The Center said this in response to a writ petition by the Maharashtra government seeking a direction to the government to collect data on Backward Class Citizens (BCC) of rural India during the 2021 census.
In that affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the central government had also alleged that the caste enumeration in the 2011 Socio-Economic and Caste Census was ‘full of mistakes and inaccuracies’.
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