Forward caste

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Forward caste (or General caste) [1] is a term used in India to denote castes which are not listed in SC, ST or OBC reservation lists. They are on average considered ahead of other castes economically and educationally. They account for about 30.8% of the population based on Schedule 10 of available data from the National Sample Survey Organisation 55th (1999–2000) and National Sample Survey Organisation 61st Rounds (2004–05) Round Survey. [2] [ citation needed ]


Those groups that qualify for reservation benefits are listed as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Other backward class and Economically Weaker Section. They can avail defined quotas amongst other benefits for education, special government schemes, government employment and political representation. The lists of Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward class are compiled irrespective of religion. [3] [4] [5] The lists are subject to change from time to time, dependent upon educational and economic factors due to which a number of so called forward castes have been classified as Other Backward Class.

General caste

General caste is an informal relative term which may refer to:

Economic and educational status

As of 2007, forward castes had to compete only in the open category, as they are considered socially, educationally, and economically advanced. At that time the reservation proportion stood at 50% in central-government educational institutions and central-government jobs. However, due to rigorous demand and the relative financial weakness of the people of the General category, the Government of India introduced another 10% as EWS quota for them which makes total reservation to around 60% . However, in certain states, such as Tamil Nadu, the reservation percentage is around 69%. [7]

Reservation for economically backward among forward castes

Before 2019, forward castes were only allowed to compete for seats in the unreserved category in educational institutions and central government jobs, regardless of their educational/economical status in society. A significant percentage of the forward caste lives below the poverty line, and more than 30% of the members of this community are illiterate. To meet their aspirations, demands have been raised for providing separate reservations for the poor among forward caste populations. Many political parties like BJP, Samajwadi Party, LJP, Rastriya Janata Dal, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Bahujan Samaj Party [8] [9] [10] [11] have supported proposals for providing a separate reservation for the poor among the forward castes. These parties account for over 400 of the 542 members in the current parliament, as well as holding power in most states in the union.


State and central governments have not released adequate data regarding the representation of various communities in their services and admissions to educational institutions.[ citation needed ] Most of the private companies in India do not collect data regarding the community of their employees.

Rural landholding pattern of various social groups calculated by National Sample Survey 99-00 indicate that OBC and forward castes are comparable in wealth RuralLandholding.jpg
Rural landholding pattern of various social groups calculated by National Sample Survey 99-00 indicate that OBC and forward castes are comparable in wealth

Shrinking educational opportunities

During April 2006, India's Human Resource Minister announced that 27% seats will be reserved exclusively for candidates from Other Backward class in addition to existing 22.5% reservation for Scheduled castes and Scheduled Tribes. [28]

Many states do not have 27% of Other Backward class population, as per national sample surveys. (This includes major Indian states like Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Punjab, West Bengal). Some Indian states like Assam [ citation needed ], Goa [ citation needed ], Haryana [ citation needed ], Himachal Pradesh [ citation needed ], Uttarakhand [ citation needed ], have more than 50% Forward castes population, which means the number of seats secured by Forward castes will not be equal to their population proportion even if they secure 100% seats in open competition in central government institutions of these states. Central government, however, excluded 27% reservations to Other Backward class to the areas with high tribal populations. [29]

However, on 7 January 2019, the Union Council of Ministers approved 10% reservation for the forward castes in government jobs and educational institutions. This group is classified as the Economically Weaker Section (EWS). [30] The cabinet decided that this would be over and above the existing 50% reservation for SC/ST/OBC categories. [31]

See also

Related Research Articles

The Other Backward Class is a collective term used by the Government of India to classify castes which are educationally or socially backward. It is one of several official classifications of the population of India, along with General castes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The OBCs were found to comprise 52% of the country's population by the Mandal Commission report of 1980, and were determined to be 41% in 2006 when the National Sample Survey Organisation took place. There is substantial debate over the exact number of OBCs in India; it is generally estimated to be sizable, but many believe that it is higher than the figures quoted by either the Mandal Commission or the National Sample Survey.

The Mandal Commission or the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Commission (SEBC), was established in India in 1979 by the Janata Party government under Prime Minister Morarji Desai with a mandate to "identify the socially or educationally backward classes" of India. It was headed by B. P. Mandal, an Indian parliamentarian, to consider the question of reservations for people to address caste discrimination, and used eleven social, economic, and educational indicators to determine backwardness. In 1980, based on its rationale that OBCs identified on the basis of caste, social, economic indicators made up 52% of India's population, the commission's report recommended that members of Other Backward Classes (OBC) be granted reservations to 27% of jobs under the Central government and public sector undertakings, thus making the total number of reservations for SC, ST and OBC to 49.5%.

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