Lately, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) authorities in Odisha has taken three main choices in ‘favour’ of OBCs, that are sure to have ramifications each on coverage and political ranges.
First, the state meeting amended the purposeful scope of the Odisha State Fee for Backward Fee (OSCBC) to survey social and academic circumstances of the backward lessons every so often, which was not in place earlier.
Second, the BJD joined palms with different political events in exerting stress on the Union authorities to enumerate OBCs within the 2021 Census.
Third, the BJD introduced its choice to order 27% of its celebration candidates in upcoming panchayat elections – due in 2022 – to socially and educationally backward lessons (SEBC) within the state.
Nonetheless, what’s clearly seen from the above choices is these 27% reservations don’t apply to alternatives in schooling. The BJD authorities has intentionally sidelined schooling from the agenda although the standing of OBCs by way of schooling within the state is miserable. This raises a query as as to whether these latest choices are meant for mere vote-bank politics, pushed by tokenism, or do they actually present real dedication in the direction of the empowerment of the OBCs?
In the meantime, the political narrative favouring 27% reservations to OBCs in Odisha took a distinct flip since Dharmendra Pradhan, the Union minister of schooling and one of many OBC faces from Odisha, emerged because the outstanding face in Odisha politics. He has launched scathing assaults in opposition to the ruling BJD for not implementing 27% reservation to OBCs up to now, given that the majority different states have already accomplished it.
Standing of OBC reservations throughout India
It has been greater than 40 years for the reason that Mandal fee report and 29 years to the Supreme Court docket judgment validating the V.P. Singh authorities’s choice to offer 27% reservation to OBCs in schooling and public sector employment.
At present, there are reservations for OBCs in virtually all of the states in schooling and employment. In Tamil Nadu, reservations account for 69% of alternatives, out of which 20% are for Maha Backward Castes (MBC) and 30% for OBCs. Chhattisgarh has 27% reservations for OBCs, and 58% reservations cumulatively. Equally, Haryana, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra present greater than 50% reservations for SC, ST and OBC sections mixed.
Moreover, there have been 27% reservations to OBCs in schooling and employment alternatives within the Union authorities establishments for the reason that 2008-09 educational yr.
Schooling amongst OBCs in Odisha
Odisha shouldn’t be solely a poor state nationally but additionally very unequal by way of human growth. The poverty fee amongst STs, SCs and OBCs is increased than different ahead castes.
At each stage of schooling, the online attendance of scholars from different ahead castes is best and above the online state fee. The online attendance ratio amongst OBC is relatively higher in main, higher main, secondary and better secondary. However, after the upper secondary stage, OBCs participation in schooling is decrease than college students from different ahead castes.
In addition to, in age-specific attendance, the opposite ahead castes carried out nicely at each stage of schooling. On the similar time, SCs and STs suffered from the rising age of their college students, and to some extent OBCs after the age of 18 years.
This exhibits that the scenario of OBCs shouldn’t be higher by way of schooling within the state, however the reservations for OBCs/SEBCs in academic establishments will not be being carried out. Odisha gives solely 11.25% reservation in authorities employment and the panchayat raj establishments for SEBCs (27% reservation was relevant till the 2017 elections. However, as a result of a excessive courtroom judgment, it has been decreased to 11.25% from 2022 panchayat raj elections).
Which means college students from the SEBC/OBC sections in Odisha are being disadvantaged of their rights, whereas in different states, the identical class college students take pleasure in these advantages. A minimum of 2,270 OBC college students from Odisha have been disadvantaged of reservation at university-level within the ongoing 2021-22 educational yr.
The scenario is unclear within the degree-level admissions as non-public faculties additionally take part in a single admission administration system. Nonetheless, there are a complete of 1,024 diploma faculties of each private and non-private, with a complete energy of two,50,051 college students within the present educational yr.
Right here, the elemental query is why can’t the state authorities make such a provision for SEBC/OBC college students in its academic establishments much like that of Union authorities establishments and universities, and like many different states. The logic shouldn’t be sound when there’s a reservation provision within the employment and panchayati raj-level establishments however not in academic establishments.
Reservation in academic establishments is equally necessary, like in employment and political illustration for the uplift of the SEBC/OBC communities.
Thus, it seems that the suggestions of the Mandal Fee for the upliftment of the SEBC/OBC will not be carried out in letter and spirit. Subsequently, no matter present reservation provisions are in place for SEBC/OBC in employment and public representations, however not within the schooling sector, is simply tokenism and never precise empowerment of the OBC communities.
The present choices regarding OBCs by the BJD authorities – specifically, the modification within the legislation governing OSCBC to survey the social and academic circumstances of the backward lessons, the demand for OBC census, and the choice to earmark 27% seats to OBCs within the panchyat elections – is a transparent case of vote-bank politics, pushed by tokenism.
Deepak Kumar Nanda is a growth researcher and PhD scholar on the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.