Odisha Sets July Second Week Deadline For Backward Class Survey

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has set July 12 deadline for completing a comprehensive survey of social and educational conditions of people belonging to backward classes in the state.

The survey will be undertaken under supervision of Odisha State Commission for Backward Classes (OSCBC), which on February 24 issued an exhaustive guideline and timeline, to all district collectors. “The collectors and commissioners of municipal corporations will be in overall charge of the survey and hence they should personally monitor different survey activities for its timely completion. The entire process of the survey should be completed by July 12, 2023,” said OSCBC member secretary VV Yadav.

They have been asked to prepare and send district survey management plan, containing district profile, information on survey centres, enumerators, supervisors and other survey related officers, along with their deployment to the Commission by the first week of March.

Odisha will be the second state after Bihar to collect data on the socioeconomic conditions of people from backward classes. The BJD government had decided to conduct the survey in May and June 2021, after constituting the OSCBC, but it had to be postponed due to the surge in cases during the second wave of COVID-19.

This move ahead of the 2024 twin elections is being seen as an attempt by the ruling party to attract voters from backward classes. This assumes significance since people from backward classes are believed to constitute approximately 54% of the state population.

Government sources, however, said that the survey will help to make effective policies for backward classes to ensure their socioeconomic development.

The OSCBC had identified 209 communities in Odisha as socially and educationally backward classes (SEBC). The number rose to 231 after State Cabinet recently approved inclusion of 22 more castes in the state OBC list.

An earlier attempt by the state government to earmark 27% quota for backward classes was challenged in Odisha Administrative Tribunal as it exceeded the reservation ceiling of 50% in respect of ST, SC and SEBC in public employment, as laid down by the Supreme Court. and had to be brought down to 11.25%.

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