Govt may rechristen OSCs as OBCs, enhance their reservation

Order adding 15 Castes in OSCs kept in abeyance

Paharis, Paddaris inclusion in STs to be done simultaneously

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Oct 23: The Jammu and Kashmir Government is reported to have decided to rechristen Other Social Castes (OSCs) to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) like national level and other States and Union Territories and enhance their reservation to the extent possible. In view of this, the Government has kept in abeyance the order issued yesterday for inclusion of 15 Castes/communities into Social Castes to grant them reservation.
Official sources told the Excelsior that Jammu and Kashmir Government has decided to rechristen OSCs as OBCs and enhance their reservation in Government jobs, educational institutions etc shortly to fulfil long pending demand of the Backward Classes that they were denied reservation in the Union Territory though OBCs enjoyed reservation at national level as well as in all other States and Union Territories.
OSCs have four percent reservation in Jammu and Kashmir and, as per the sources, the percentage of reservation could go up. At the national level and in some States/UTs, OBCs enjoy 27 percent reservation. However, the percentage will be worked out by the Government.
In view of this, the Social Welfare Department today kept in abeyance its order issued yesterday adding 15 more Castes and Communities in the list of OSCs to extend them the benefits of reservation in Government jobs and educational institutions etc.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by first proviso to Clause (o) of Section 2 of Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004, the Government directs that the notification issued vide endorsement No. SWD-BCC/14/2022 shall come into force from the date as may notified by the Government and shall remain in abeyance till further orders,” an order issued today by the Social Welfare Department, said.
Sources said the order granting Scheduled Tribe status to Pahari Ethnic Tribe (Pahari Kabeela), Paddari tribe and Koli & Gadda Brahman, is also expected to be issued simultaneously by the Government along with extending reservation benefits to OBCs.
The Jammu and Kashmir Government is in touch with the Union Home Ministry officials for the purpose, they added.
There has been long pending demand of the OBCs in Jammu and Kashmir that despite application of almost all Central laws in the Union Territory after abrogation of special status, they have been denied reservation though their castes have 27 percent reservation at national level as well as all other States and Union Territories.
Soon after the order adding 15 Castes in the list of OSCs was kept in abeyance, BJP UT chief Ravinder Raina spoke to Union Home Secretary AK Bhalla and Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and was assured that fresh and appropriate orders will be issued shortly.
Fifteen new Castes/communities were added to the Social Castes list yesterday.
Another significant change made in Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Rules yesterday was replacement of words “Pahari Speaking People (PSP)” or “Pahari Speaking People” with “Pahari Ethnic People”.
The Social Caste list was redrawn on the recommendations of the Jammu and Kashmir Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Commission which was constituted by J&K Government in 2020. Former High Court Judge Justice G D Sharma headed the three-member panel.
As reported exclusively by the Excelsior earlier, based on recommendations of Justice GD Sharma Committee report, the Government has also added Paddari Tribe and Koli & Gadda Brahman for accord of Scheduled Tribes (ST) status along with Pahari Ethnic Tribe.
Gujjars and Bakerwals in Jammu and Kashmir already enjoyed ST status in Jammu and Kashmir.
During his visit to Jammu and Kashmir from October 3-5, Union Minister for Home and Cooperation Amit Shah had announced that recommendations of Justice GD Sharma Panel have been received by the Government and that Gujjars, Bakerwals and Paharis will get the benefits but rights of no one will be diluted.
The STs have 10 percent reservations in Jammu and Kashmir which might go up. Nine seats in 90-member Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir have been reserved for the STs. Five seats are reserved for STs in Jammu division and four in Kashmir.
The Scheduled Castes have eight percent reservations in the Union Territory and, for them, seven seats, like earlier, are reserved in the Legislative Assembly. However, out of five, no Lok Sabha seat in J&K is reserved.