The Centre is set to include 185 castes from Chattisgarh and Jharkhand in the Centre’s Other Backward Classes (OBC) list, nine years after the two states were created.
The move is aimed at inclusive development to check growth of Naxalism.
Of the 34 most Naxal-affected districts, half of them are in Jharkhand (10) and Chattisgarh (7). In the past few months, there has been a spike in Naxal activity, especially in Dhantewada district in Chattisgarh.
The Union cabinet is on Thursday likely to discuss a proposal to include 64 castes from Chattisgarh and 121 from Jharkhand in the central OBC list in order to allow them a share in central resources.
“Most of these castes are erstwhile tribals who became Hindus several decades ago,” an official said. “These castes have the same culture as tribals but don’t get benefits such as reservation,” he added. In India, tribals get 7.5 per cent reservation in government jobs and admission in higher education.
Once the cabinet approves the proposal, these castes, numbering several lakhs, will be eligible for 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in government jobs and higher education. “It will bring parity in providing government benefits to the deprived,” the official said.
The proposal indicates the central government’s view that Naxalism is not a problem in a only few districts but in the entire tribal community that resides in the red corridor from Bihar to Andhra Pradesh.
The Prime Minister’s Office has circulated a plan for tribal development in the National Development Council meeting on July 24.