The Samajwadi Party government of Uttar Pradesh led by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on 22 December 2016 passed a resolution to transfer 17 sub-castes in Other Backward Castes (OBCs) into Scheduled Castes (SC) category.
The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting that was chaired by CM Akhilesh Yadav. This inclusion of sub-castes in OBC was one of the main commitments of the SP government in 2012 when it came to the power.
17 sub-castes which the government wants to be included in the SC category include Kashyap, Kewat, Batham, Gaur, Kahar, Nishad, Bhar, Bind, Rajbhar, Prajapati, Majhi, Tura, Mallah, Kumhar, Dheemar and Machua.
In addition to this, the state government also moved another resolution to send this proposal to the Union Government for further consideration. The proposal is being sent the Union Government because it has the power for the category change.
Now, this inclusion of these 17 sub-castes into SC category rests in the hand of the Union Government.
Comments on this Resolution
• As per the political pundits, this move of the government is a political stunt to increase the vote count of Samajwadi Party in the upcoming assembly poll.
• BSP supremo Mayawati termed the decision as unfortunate and condemnable. The decision is aimed at deceiving these communities. She termed it as a mere drama.
This is not the first time that the SP government has tried to work in this direction; earlier in 2005, it had amended the UP Public Services Act, 1994. The act was amended to include as many as 17 castes in the OBCs to the SC category. But the then decision of the state government failed to crop-up because the power to declare any caste as 'Scheduled' rests in the hands of the Union Government.
The decision was proved futile as it was taken without the consent of the Union government. Later, the Allahabad High Court quashed the decision declaring the move unconstitutional and void.