The Other Backward Classes (OBCs) is a collective term coined by the Government of India to refer to the caste and class of people who are educationally and/or socially disadvantaged. It is one of the major classifications along with Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and the General Category. Reservation for OBCs was introduced on the basis of the Mandal Commission Report, 1991.
The objective of an OBC certificate, therefore, is to provide for allocation of jobs in the Central Government, subsidies on basic amenities, and free or discounted education with special quotas. The procedure for obtaining the certificate differs from state to state. However, the general process and eligibility criteria are quite similar. The certificate is applicable only to the ‘non-creamy layer’ population.
Where can an OBC certificate be used?
- Education institutions (schools & colleges)
- Competitive Exam quotas
- Fee concessions
- Employment in reserved categories
- Government subsidies
- Housing & self-employment
- Allotment of housing sites
- Assignment of land
- Election candidature
What is the creamy layer?
Creamy layer is a term used to address the population amongst the OBCs who are advanced economically and socially – so much so that they do not need the recognition of belonging to a backward class nor the affirmative action on part of the State to take them forward in life. They constitute the ‘cream’ or forward section of the population and, hence, are excluded from Government sponsored schemes and benefits. People from the ‘creamy layer’ cannot avail quotas in Government jobs and educational institutes.
How is the creamy layer determined?
The income cap for being considered as a ‘creamy layer’ member within the OBC structure is INR 8 lakhs per annum. For children of government employees, the threshold is dependent on their government job ranking rather than income. For example, creamy layer is applicable to any person whose parents occupy a constitutional post, or if either parent is recruited in a Group-A government job, or if both parents are in Group-B government services. If a parent starts at a low post but enters a Group-A post before turning 40, they will be considered as a creamy layer member. Income from other salaries or agricultural land is not added for determining the threshold. Below are the government-classified jobs:
- Group ‘A’ Govt. Jobs: IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS, Postal Service, Indian Trade Service, etc.
- Group ‘B’ Govt. Jobs: Sub-Inspector, Inspector, Govt. School Teachers, Accountants, Section Officers, etc.
- Group ‘C’ Govt. Jobs: Clerks, Tax Assistant, Typists in Courts, Stenographer, Assistant Sub-Inspector, etc.
- Group ‘D’ Govt. Jobs: Peon, Sweeper, Gatekeeper, Guard, Cook, Cleaner, etc.
Eligibility for OBC Certificate
Following is the eligibility for obtaining an OBC certificate. Although different states have slightly different processes, the general eligibility criteria and procedure remain the same.
- Citizen of India from the OBC category.
- Permanent resident of the state where application is to be filed.
- Both or one of applicant’s parents must be working under Group C or D of the Central Government jobs.
- If the individual is employed in a Group B government service but parents do not have a steady income like a pension, the applicant could be considered.
- Total family earning below INR 8 lakhs per annum.
- If the husband is a Central Government employee, his spouse is eligible, but her parents must not have a steady source of income.
- Caste applied for must be notified as OBC by the State Government.
- Castes that fall under Backward Class (BC) and Most Backward Class (MBC).
- If parents are employed in Group A services such as IPS, IAS, IRS, IFS, etc.
- If parents are working under Group 1 of a state government.
- If parents’ income exceeds INR 8 lakhs per annum, i.e., belongs to ‘creamy layer’.
- One cannot claim ‘OBC’ certificate on basis of marriage.
Obtaining OBC certificate: Processes (Offline & Online)
Once the individual has established their eligibility, they may proceed with the process of obtaining the OBC certificate, either offline or online.
- Visit the nearby Tehsil, Sub-divisional Magistrate (SDM) office, Revenue office, Common Service Centers (CSC).
- Person will be provided with an application form for the certificate that demands basic information like contact, address, ID proofs, and other personal details.
- Person needs to fill in the caste details of the father. If his details are not available or if he has passed away, details of blood relative or their caste certificate will be needed.
- If the person has migrated from state of residence or has changed state for any reason, it must be specified in the form.
- Self-declaration page has to be filled and duly signed.
- Mention the local address and a reference for further verification, along with attaching a passport size photograph.
- Waiting period for the certificate, if all documentation has been cleared, is 30-35 days.
- Visit the state’s backward class welfare portal to make an application. For example, if you are from West Bengal you can visit the online portal at https://castcertificatewb.gov.in/ However, not all states offer the online mode.
- Click on “apply for caste certificate online”.
- Fill in the details: contact information, personal information, ID proof, etc.
- The verification will be completed on account of the reference provided in the form by the applicant.
- Submit data with proof of documents.
- Post submission, an acknowledgment slip will be generated along with an application number. This can be printed or download.
- Application number can be used to track the status of application.
- Once verification is completed, the applicant can download the certificate from the portal itself.
- The applicant will receive an email or SMS confirming the completion of the process.
Documents Required for OBC Certificate
Identity Proof (any one)
- Aadhaar Card
- Voter ID Card
- PAN Card
- Ration Card (with photo)
- Driving License
- Any other recognizable ID issued by the Govt. of India
Address Proof (any one)
- Aadhaar Card
- Voter ID Card
- Ration Card (with photo)
- Driving License
- Rent Agreement
- Electricity/Water/Phone/Gas Bill
- Income Certificate
- School Leaving Certificate
Proof of Caste of Self or Blood Relative (any one)
- Extract of Primary School Register of applicant or father or grandfather.
- Primary School Leaving Certificate of the applicant or father.
- Extract of Birth Register of applicant or father or blood relative.
- An extract of any Government Service Record mentioning caste/community of the applicant’s father or blood relative.
- Document certifying caste issued by Department of Social Justice.
- Validity Certificate, if any, of father or blood relative.
- Copy of revenue records or village Panchayat record.
- Documentary evidence on caste and ordinary place of residence prior to date of notification of caste.
- Other relevant documentary evidence issued by competent authority.
Note: Applicant must also buy an INR 20 Stamp Paper and procure an Affidavit from the Notary.
OBC certificates are essential for those seeking benefits under the non-creamy layer. However, the process requires plenty of documentation, irrespective of the offline or online method. The certificate, if all goes well, is handed out within a month, and can then be used for various purposes. The first hurdle is always to determine if the applicant is eligible for the certificate. Also check if your state of residence has an online portal or not and then proceed accordingly.