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May 16, 2024

NCBC Recommends Significant Increase in OBC Reservation Quota in Punjab and West Bengal

The National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) has made a significant recommendation to boost the reservation quota for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in public employment in Punjab and West Bengal. This move follows a thorough review of current reservation policies, oral statements, and documentary evidence, aligning with directives from the Supreme Court in the Indra Sawhney case.

At present, Punjab designates 25 per cent of public employment positions to Scheduled Castes and 12 per cent to OBCs, totaling 37 per cent reservation. The NCBC has proposed a substantial increase in the OBC quota by an additional 13 per cent, raising the total OBC reservation in public employment to 25 per cent. This adjustment adheres to the Supreme Court’s ceiling of up to 50 per cent reservation for socially and educationally backward classes.

D K Tiwari, Additional Chief Secretary of the Punjab Government, expressed the state’s commitment to implementing the Commission’s recommendations during his appearance before the NCBC on February 22.

In West Bengal, the categorization of OBCs includes 35 newly included castes/communities, adding to a total of 179 OBC communities enlisted in the state list. Category ‘A’ (more backward) consists of 81 castes, with 73 communities belonging to the Muslim religion, while Category ‘B’ (Backward) contains 98 castes, with 45 communities belonging to the Muslim religion. The reservation for Category ‘A’ (More Backward) is proposed to be increased to 10 per cent, and for Category ‘B’ (Backward), it is proposed to be seven per cent.

In respect of services and posts under the control of the West Bengal government, the reservation quota for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes is 22 per cent, six per cent, and 17 per cent respectively. With the recent issuance of notifications ensuring 17 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes, the total reservation of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes for public employment reaches 45 per cent.

The NCBC has observed that the remaining five per cent quota in public employment under the control of the state government may be increased in respect of OBCs, bringing it in line with the ceiling of up to 50 per cent as directed by the Supreme Court.

This recommendation by the NCBC reflects a commitment to ensuring equitable representation and opportunities for OBC communities in public employment in Punjab and West Bengal, in accordance with constitutional principles and judicial directives.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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