creamy layer: a figure from the dark ages

OBC job share plunges to 5% in 13 yrs of quota

NEW DELHI: In 1990, other backward classes claimed 12.55% of government jobs. But 13 years after the government created a 27% quota in their favour in 1994, the OBC share in jobs has, in fact, plunged — to an alarming 5.21%.

The figure emerged from the documents submitted by the Centre to the Supreme Court during arguments on anti-quota PILs challenging the validity of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admissions) Act, 2006.
that's from a six month old report in the times of india, always on the right side of upper caste righteous indignation. and this is a frustrated jayanthi natarajan at a debate telecast a couple of days ago by ibn live, a channel that'll dramatize whatever it takes to drive home some politically difficult sense into the lower castes:
Jayanthi countered that politically difficult statement with a politically correct one. “After the Indra Sahni case, when we’ve had reservations for OBCs in employment, only 5.4 per cent of those seats have been filled. So until social inclusiveness is totally achieved, I don’t think it’s time yet to talking about leaving people out. It may be a very attractive argument. It’s also not true to say that it replaces merit,” she said.
and a five month old story from the hindu, that doesn't see any contradiction between being the mouthpiece of the brahminical left and the working classes in the country, says:
Speaking at the end of the rally on Parliament Street, Dr. Ramadoss said Central Government jobs should be distributed to various social groups in proportion to their population. Though the share of the OBC population in the country was over 52 per cent, its share in government employment was only 5.3 per cent.
yes, the core message in all the links is the same: obc representation in the central government has fallen from around 12.5% in 1989 to 5.21% in 2007. then why so many links?

so that some folks, like this commenter at abi's blog, would see the light: the obcs are still in the dark ages. like i had said in a recent post, it is quite impossible for certain folks who've been taught by the army of intellectuals opposing reservations to see the obcs in a certain light, as powerful and prosperous, to accept any information that punctures that picture. hence, the multiple links: choose you favourite rag. and forgive it for slipping up- this isn't the kind of news you'd like to read or reread. what you like is more objective stuff, right? the headlines should say, in your kind of politically correct language: the students opposing reservations aren't elitist, and the editorial should say: the poor among the upper castes deserve a break too.

the figure i'd suggested in this post, a couple of days ago, that only 0.5% of all obc families belong to the creamy layer, isn't from the dark ages, as the commenter suggests. as you can see, things were better for the obcs in the dark ages.

in 1990, when the estimate of obc representation in central government jobs, according to mandal, was 12.55%, the size of the central government was 34 lakhs. now it's 31 lakhs (according to the report of the 2004, the latest, census of central government employees ). 5.21% of 31 lakhs- which means the number of obcs in the central government is around 1,62,000.

and how many of those 31 lakh jobs could be group (a) and group (b) officers (check sections II A and II b of the creamy layer categories)? around 7-9% of central government jobs fall in those categories- say, 2,50,000 jobs. ignoring for the moment group (a) and group (b) officers of state services, how many obc group (a) and (b) officers do you think could be skimmed off? how many obcs do you think actually hold those posts? 5%? 6%? 10%? remember, the percentage of obc officers in 1989-1990, was- class I: 4.69%, class II: 10%. less than the number of total representation in central govt jobs- 12.55%. the percentage of sc/st officers too is usually less than their total representation in jobs. a great majority of the obc/sc/st/ employees hold group (c) or (b) jobs- yes, following a historically ordered pattern. they want jobs, right? give them all those menial jobs so that they can gloat about the numbers, but never make too many of them officers! so how many obcs do you think are group (a) or (b) officers in the central government. 4% of the total number of officers? 3%? 2%? 1%?

what will you skim off, mr.balakrishnan, pasayat, bhandari ...?

it's not the ignorance that's staggering, it's the blatant refusal to see an apartheidic divide building over the years. and i'm not talking about only excitable commenters. it's like men and women, so wise and knowledgeable and sensitive on other issues, automatically switch off their minds when a fact that contradicts their flawed understanding of what the obcs and other unfortunate sections of the indian population are. obcs? prosperous, powerful, and too goddamm many- but not enough to deserve any special attention. definitely not the benevolent kind of attention, anyway.

let me end this post with an illustration of the selective blindness i've been talking about- in this post, bhupinder, talking about how and what he learnt about mandal, quotes an excerpt from an article by s.s.gill. the argument in the post and the article is almost the same- most people have failed to see mandal in its true light. let's see what mr.gill does see- here are a few other excerpts from the same article:
And who were the main beneficiaries of this provision? Only the better off among the OBCs — the so-called creamy layer — who already had access to good educational facilities and could outperform their lesser privileged peers at competitive examinations within the reserved quota. This deepened the divide among the OBCs, as those who were already at the top of their community cornered the plum jobs and those at the bottom were left further behind.
plum jobs? he goes on to say:
Of course, Article 16 (4) empowers the State to make job reservation for "any backward class citizens... not adequately represented in the services under the state". But is it anyone's case that the forward castes as a whole are not adequately represented in the services?
is he blind or what? where are the the plum jobs that were cornered, mr.gill? if the obcs' share has fallen from a tokenistic 12.5% to a dregs-at-the-bottom-of-the-glass 5%, and the dalits and the muslims together do not make up more than 20% of the plum jobs, who's been sucking up the milk and the cream, mr.gill?

gill has been a babu in the mandal commission. but it looks like, like many objective observers, he didn't see even 12.5% of the truth then, nor does he see even 5% of it now.


Anonymous said...

The question that arises then, is why did introduction of quotas result in fall of OBC share of jobs.

kuffir said...


the larger question is: why did introduction of democracy result in no change in indian society?

Anonymous said...


No change? How many SCs and STs were in a position to get a good education prior to democracy? For that matter did the OBCs have that minuscule 12% or even 5% jobs prior to democracy?

How much of caste-based discrimination was there prior to democracy? How many people ASKED you about your caste in a normal conversation then, and how many ask it today? Did you even have a law of the land against caste based discrimination prior to democracy, an excellent provision that exists in the constitution today? How many Indians (GC/SC/ST/OBC) had the confidence to take on global jobs prior to democracy when the country was ruled by British?

The society was changing at its own pace, and the pace was slow, very slow. And a number of people decided it was too slow and tried to speed it up. Nothing wrong with that.

But have the sense to recognize that at least thus far, these efforts have yielded in negative results so far as OBC community is concerned. I would agree with you a hundred times that something has to be done to improve the lot of the underprivileged. But, if you have a system in place to do that (in this case, supposedly reservations), it is worthwhile reviewing how effective the system has been. If it has been effective, go ahead with it by all means. If it hasnt, well, the least you can do is to review it.

Here and here are some more facts that are disturbing. The OBCs constituted a mere 18.75% of the IIT JEE test takers, of which 14% made it without reservations. 18.75% is WAY below the even most conservative estimate of the %age of OBC population.

14% out of 18.75% indicates to me at least that the OBCs who ARE in a position to take the test did not fare extremely poorly. To me, the problem lies in getting more OBC students to take the test while ensuring facilities for adequate preparation

IMHO, the government has neglected the sector which had the max potential to boost OBCs, i.e. reservation in good government schools like KVs (and there are 860 of them!!), coupled with financial help for enrolling in tutorial classes. That would reach a lot more OBCs than a 27% reservations in IITs and IIMs. A combination of reservations at good govt schools and higher ed places like IITs and IIMs is what would be even better. And, the best scenario would be if the government had the sense to take steps to ensure better access to higher ed by having more good univs and infra-structure. The last however, wont ever happen in the foreseeable future.

kuffir said...


'But have the sense to recognize that at least thus far, these efforts have yielded in negative results so far as OBC community is concerned.'

two assumptions: one about sense, which i'd like to ignore because i see nothing impolite about the rest of your comment. two, about the scale of what has been done and the period.

and the third, more damaging than the others, assumption: that the lower castes generally don't get the larger picture- that good schools, clean housing and sanitation, healthcare are more important.

the problem, from where i am located, is that democracy has failed to deliver those goods, or opportunities, on a universal, equitable basis. and why it has not delivered is because it failed to recognize the very undemocratic core of indian society: caste.

caste is a major cause of deprivation in the indian context, because it inhibits the very fundamental driver of all positive change- the individual. the policies you talk about address deprivation, without recognizing caste. if you recognized caste, you'd also recognize that there is no place for such institutions as the kendriya vidyalayas.. all institutions would deliver kv level quality.

yes, reservations don't address caste, largely, too.

Priya said...

Haha, you are reducing the whole thing to quotas like only you can:) Population percentage = Job share.

So a family should be encouraged to have 15 children because irrespective of whether or not they can total 2 and 2 to 4 they can be assured of jobs because they have numbers on their side :)

Isn't it the same anology to the days when rich noblemen could buy more wives at an auction because they had more money, the rights of women be damned, like the rights of the meritorious be damned here :)

More begets more :)

These backwards have given new meaning to "Science advances on the shoulders of the giants before" :)

I am reminded of "Give them an inch, they will ask for a mile".

Long live incompetence :)

Anonymous said...


You merit absolutely no comment :)


The policies I talked of addresses both caste and deprivation while recognizing that they are to a reasonable extent inter twined.

I said, reservations in KVs along with financial help for the reserved category students for tutorial classes so that they would be in a position to compete.

And all institutions delivering KV quality is something that is unrelated to recognizing caste. The malaise in educational system runs deep. You can easily see why from Prof Abinandanan's posts at nanopolitan on higher ed. Many of his arguments apply to school level education as well.

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