The Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Commission (SEBC), often known as the Mandal Commission, was established on January 1st, 1979. B P Mandal, an MP, was appointed as the Commission’s chairman. On December 31, 1980, the Commission submitted its report to the President.
On August 7, 1990, the country’s then-prime minister, V.P. Singh, made a significant decision that changed Indian politics and the way social justice was upheld. The prior government decided to adopt the Mandal Commission’s recommendations and establish reservations for members of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in government jobs.
Read More: Hunter Commission
Mandal Commission Background
The idea of caste-based reservations was first proposed by William Hunter and Jyotirao Phule in 1882, and it was put into practice through the Minto-Morley Reform in 1909, the Government of India Act in 1919, and other British reforms. However, the reservation system that is currently in use, in its truest sense, was only introduced in 1933 when the “Communal Award” was presented by British prime minister Ramsay Macdonald, and it also served as the Poona Pact.
Since reservations were initially only offered to those who fell under the SC and ST categories after independence, this policy did not extend to all affected castes. Following the Mandal Commission‘s recommendations, the innovative reservation policy was implemented in 1991. This was seen as a significant step for the advancement of all underprivileged castes and included OBC as well.
Kaka Kalelkar Commission: This led to the formation of the first backward classes’ commission which was headed by Kaka Kalelkar in the year of 1953. But the report of this commission failed to make an impact.
Mandal Commission Timeline
The events under the Mandal Commission Report were established.
|1979||A backward class commission under BP Mandal for defining the socially and educationally backward classes in India and to recommend steps for their upliftment.|
|1980||The report submitted that India’s population consisted of approximately 52% OBCs and thus suggested 27% reservation for them in government jobs.|
|1980-1989||the change in government in 1980 was not willing to implement the report.|
|1990||On 13th August government order was released for its implementation and VP Singh announced its legal implementation in his Independence Day speech. A widespread protest where students committed self-immolation in protest when the government showed its intent to implement it.|
|1992||The implementation was challenged and the court under Indra Sawhney V. Union of India upheld the constitutional validity of 27% reservation for the OBCs under certain conditions.|
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Mandal Commission Report
The Second Backward classes’ commission was appointed by the Morarji Desai Government in 1979, in terms of Article 340 of the Constitution to investigate the conditions of the socially and educationally backward classes and suggest measures for their advancement. Mandal Commission was headed by Bindeshwari Prasad Mandal.
The commission submitted its report in 1980 and identified as many as 3743 castes as socially and educationally backward classes, which constitute nearly 52% of the population, excluding the scheduled castes (SCs) and the scheduled tribes (STs).
The commission recommended the reservation of 27% of government jobs for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) so that the total reservation for all ((SCs, STs and OBCs) amounts to 50%. After 10 years of making these recommendations, V.P. Singh Government declared a reservation of 27% of government jobs for the OBCs in 1990. Narasimha Rao Government in 1991 introduced two changes such as,
- Economic Criteria: Adoption of the economic criteria in granting reservation and giving preference to the poorer sections among the OBCs in the 27% quota.
- EWS Reservation: Reservation of another 10% of jobs for poorer (economically backwards) sections of higher castes who are not covered by any existing schemes of reservation.
Read More: Sadler Commission
Mandal Commission Case
In the Indra Sawhney case, 1992 popularly known as the Mandal case, the scope and extent of Article 16(4), which provides for the reservation of jobs in favour of backward classes, have been examined thoroughly by the Supreme Court. Though the Court has rejected the additional reservation of 10% for poorer sections of higher castes, it upheld the constitutional validity of 27% reservation for the OBCs under certain conditions.
Reasons for Mandal Commission Establishment
A nation like India, which has a history of upholding untouchability, the caste system, and the Varna system in society, has always needed a method to oppose these practices in the contemporary liberal era. Thus, the establishment of India’s reservation system may be directly attributed to the nation’s long-standing discriminatory regime.
The reservation system is essentially an instance of positive discrimination intended to help underprivileged populations. It tries to make it easier for specific groups of people who have historically experienced discrimination based on their caste identification to access government employment, educational opportunities, and even legislatures.
This approach was put into place on the basis of equality, i.e., to give the affected castes equal chances and positions in society, to socially elevate them, to put them on par with other sectors of society, and for the advancement of the lowest strata of society.
Mandal Commission UPSC
India’s reservation policy was developed in large part as a result of the Mandal Commission Report. Expanding the population that benefited from it, it caused considerable modifications to the reservation policy. The reservation policy clearly affected the general populace negatively by reducing their chances, but it was important to free underprivileged people from the cycle of discrimination and poverty.
After the Mandal Commission’s Report, numerous changes and regulations were made. Despite the report’s flaws, they were greatly improved after they were refuted in the Indira Sawhney case, and in 1992 a very advantageous reservation policy for OBCs in central government services was implemented.
In addition, the government has not made any notable steps to put the Mandal Commission’s suggested structural modifications into action. The foundation of the rural economy, agriculture, is no longer economically feasible. For a more successful outcome, some key components of the recommendation must be added after the implementation of the reservation policy.