OTHER BACKWARD Classes comprise 41 per cent of the Indian population, says the National Sample Survey Organisation's report released on Tuesday.
Since no caste-based census has been conducted since 1931, the size of the OBC population has been much debated, specially since the recommendations of the Mandal commission, providing special privileges to the OBCs, were implemented. The Supreme Court had recently asked for such a figure.
Based on a survey of 1.25 lakh households, NSSO report says the OBC share in the population increased from 35.8 per cent in 1999 to 41 in 2004-5. It says the proportion of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in the population has remained static during the same period at 20 per cent and 8 per cent respectively.
The survey shows that in rural India, the OBCs have almost the same purchasing power as the forward communities. Eight per cent of the OBCs spend Rs 1,100 or more every month compared to 11 per cent of forward communities in villages. For the SC and STs, the corresponding figure is 2 per cent and 1 per cent respectively.
The gap in spending capacity between OBCs and the forward communities is bigger in urban areas. While 28 per cent of OBCs spend Rs 1,110 or more per month, among the forward communities 52 per cent do so.