A cash-strapped Maharashtra Government will have to shell out a whopping Rs 450 crore to give to the State Backward Classes Commission (SBCC) for conducting house-to-house surveys to collect empirical data on OBCs. The state government has yet to take a final call but has hinted that it is a time-consuming exercise and in the present pandemic, it will not be possible in view of the curbs and the non-availability of manpower.
After quashing the OBC quota, the Supreme Court had said the state would have to set up an SBCC, provide empirical data and the quota could not exceed 50 per cent of the ceiling. The state government has satisfied one of the three requirements – established the SBCC but it has yet to provide the necessary funds and allocate manpower due to administrative, financial and procedural issues.
A senior officer told The Free Press Journal, “A backward classes commission, which is one of the requirements of the triple-test, has already been set up by the state. The SBCC will compile empirical data to restore the reservation of OBCs. The state also needs to study the political backwardness of the community. Quantification can be done on the basis of sample.”
NCP minister and Samata Parishad founder Chhagan Bhujbal said the state government had been repeatedly pleading with the Centre to share the empirical data on OBCs that is available. “Even though all political parties have agreed that SBCC will collect the empirical data, it will take time and the government will have to provide necessary funds,” he said.
On the other hand, another official said the government could, in the meanwhile, produce the census data on the Maratha community compiled by the SBCC that had been set up by the Fadnavis government.
“The data collected by the previous SBCC by roping in leading educational institutions also has data on the OBC community. The government may take a decision to submit it in the Supreme Court with a commitment that it will be fine-tuned after the SBCC formed by the MVA government completes the compilation of empirical data of the OBC community,” he said.
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