Kolkata: The West Bengal government on Friday issued notification to increase reservation in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category from seven percent to 17 percent by introducing a 'more backward' classification to benefit the Muslim communities.
Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at state secretariat Writers' Building said: 'The reservation of the OBC will now be 17 percent from 7 percent, whereas there will be classifications within the OBC category. OBC communities would be divided into - 'backward' and 'more backward' according to their educational, financial and social status. The backward group will enjoy seven percent reservation, while the more backward group will enjoy 10 percent reservation.'
According to a senior official of state Backward Classes Welfare (BCW) department, a total 108 communities from all religions are included in the OBC category, of which 53 are Muslim communities while 45 are Hindu communities. Nine are from Buddhist and another one from Jain community.
'Now with the classification in OBC category, 56 out of total 108 communities have been regarded as the 'more backward' classes. The more backward classes comprise 49 Muslims, six Hindu and one Buddhist communities,' said the senior official.
The officer further said: 'The 53 Muslim communities together cover a population of 1.73 crore, or over 86 percent of the total Muslim population (2.02 crore) in the state. So 49 out of 56 Muslim communities are being regarded as 'more backward', which accounts for 99 percent of the Muslim population in the OBC category.'
The chief minister had earlier promised introduction of 10 percent reservation in government jobs for Muslims in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category but the state backward classes welfare (BCW) realised that it is not possible to introduce 10 percent reservation for Muslims in the OBC category due to the Constitutional bar.
In order to find a way out, a 'more backward' classification within the OBC category was introduced, where the majority of Muslim communities in the state are included.
Currently, there is seven percent reservation for OBC, 22 percent quota for Scheduled Castes and six percent for Scheduled Tribes in government recruitment in the state.