Govt ignored NCBC plea to ascertain OBC figures

New Delhi, Mar 29 | Updated: Mar 30 2007, 05:30am hrs
The Supreme Court rap to the Centre for not updating the database of backward classes might not have happened, had the government bothered to listen to repeated requests--over the last two yearsof the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) asking it to ascertain latest figures of OBCs from the states. The NCBC, which does not have the mandate to seek the data relating to backward classes from the states on its own, wrote a number of communications to the Centre in this regard.

Since 2005, we have written to the government for not less than five times to initiate the process of collecting data on OBCs from the states, which they collect through their own surveys," a source in the commission told FE on Thursday. We asked the government to furnish data with an intention to incorporate state figures in the Central list," he added.

Significantly, the Supreme Court in its observations, said that the Centre could initiate the process for determining a broadbased foundation to identify the number of OBCs. There is a view that this need not necessarily be a census, but an updated mechanism that could provide the number of backward classes in the country. While staying the decision on 27% reservation for OBCs in institutions of higher education, the apex court said that the data based on 1931 census, on which government had arrived at the 27% figure, could be relevant but not determinative.

Admittedly, the primary problem lies with the limitations in NCBCs authority, unlike the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes commissions which can pass an order to concerned ministries.