In a bid to integrate orphaned children in the competitive spirit of the society, the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) has passed a resolution stating that such children should also be included in the central list of Other Backward Classes (OBC). The decision was taken at a recent meeting chaired by NCBC head Justice V Eswaraiah.
If the proposal is implemented, it would be for the first time that a reservation is made on the basis of a criteria other than caste or community. The action has been proposed for children who have lost their parents before reaching the age of 10 and are admitted to government-run or aided schools and orphanages where there is no one to take care of them “either by law or custom.”
“We have communicated the decision to the Union Ministry of Social Justice, which will have to take the final call. This is in keeping with the recent Supreme Court judgement where the court noted that caste alone cannot be the yardstick for determining backwardness,” NCBC member Ashok Saini said.
The NCBC previously had also recommended that transgenders be given reservation under the existing 27% quota meant for OBCs. The provision was however dropped following protests from existing OBC groups.
Earlier in 2015, NCBC had thought of this inclusion. That was a couple of months after the Supreme Court, in the Ram Singh v/s Union of India case, quashed the Centre’s move to include Jats in the central OBC list. The NCBC’s resolution issued this week refers to that judgement, wherein the court held that “social groups which would be most deserving must necessarily be a matter of continuous evolution. New practices, methods and yardsticks have to be continuously evolved, moving away from caste centric definition of backwardness”.
Seeking an opinion on this, the NCB had written to all states. Consequently, the Rajasthan and Telangana governments included orphans in their state OBC list.
“Tamil Nadu has been providing reservation for orphaned children under the state OBC list for the last three years. We want it to be included in the central OBC list for all states,” said NCBC member S K Kharventhan.