Mandal Commission – Report, Politics, History, Recommendations

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The Mandal Commission changed the way or narrative of the Socially and Educationally deprived castes who had been facing unbridled torture. Thirty years ago, then the Prime Minister of India ( V.P Singh ) made a historical decision by changing Indian Politics and a way of ensuring social justice. The erstwhile government made a decision to implement the recommendations of the Mandal Commission. Moreover, opening up the reservations for the Other Backward Classes ( OBCs in the government jobs ). V.P Singh announced that OBCs from now-onwards would get 27% reservation in the job in the public sector units and central government services. The Commission was chaired by the then M.P(B.P Mandal). Hence, the name the Mandal Commission was given after him.

The Nehruvian era was marked by the development of the nation by displacing the tribal and other people from the lower strata of society. The Mandal Commission was a remarkable step to attain sustainability and fulfilling the aspirations of an equal society. But, it increased vote bank politics and Pandora’s box leading to widespread opposition. In this article, you will get to know all the necessary information regarding the Mandal Commission. The aspirants aiming for the IAS exam must be well-versed in the recommendations, reports and facts concerning the Mandal Commission.

What was Mandal Commission?

The Mandal Commission, also officially known as the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes ( SEBC ), was set up on 1st Jan 1979. It was the efforts of the Indian Government and the then Prime Minister, Morarji Desai, who put forth the recommendations of the Mandal Commission.

  • The fundamental mandate of the commission was to identify the socially and educationally backward classes and foster them with reservation to counter caste inequality, social injustice, and discrimination. The Mandal Commission put forth their first recommendations on 31st December 1980 to the President.
  • The Mandal Commission was set up to acquire information and investigate the extent of the educationally and socially backward people in the country. Moreover, it identifies the so-called ‘Other Backward Class or OBC. As mentioned, it gave recommendations on which ways of social inequality would be ended. However, by then, the Janta Dal had fallen.

Historical Background of Mandal Commission Report

The Mandal Commission was a remarkable step that altered the lives of the Socially deprived citizens of the country. Check here the path followed by the Mandal Commission to aid the socially and educationally backward classes.

  • First Backward Class Commission: In January 1953, under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first backward class commission was set up. It was set up under the chairmanship of social reformer Kaka Khelkar. The Mandal Commission Report was put forth in March 1955. Around 2,399 backward classes were listed along with 837 as the ‘most backward’. However, this report was never implemented.
  • Second Backward Class Commission: Under the leadership of Morarji Desai, on January 1, 1979, a former member of Parliament was chosen, i.e. B.P Mandal, to head the second backward class commission. He submitted the report to the Government two years later. To be precise, on December 31, 1980. However, the Janata Dal had fallen, and the government of Indira Gandhi came to power. This issue remained in the deep freeze for a decade.
  • Mandal Commission: Eventually, In 1990, the then Prime Minister V.P Singh announced the implementation of the Mandal Commission. This announcement faced violent riots and attacks in Western and Northern India.

Mandal Commission Recommendations

The Mandal Commission report stated that the country is composed of 52% OBCs. In the beginning, the Government argued that the percentage of the reservation provided must match the total percentage of OBCs in the country. However, this would breach the orders of the Supreme Court. The following points mentioned below analyzed the Mandal Commission recommendations in detail.

  • Reservation of 27% of seats for the people belonging to the lower strata of society in the central government and public sector services.
  • Reservation of 27% of the promotions for the Other Backward Class in the Public services.
  • The Age relaxation would be the same as that of Schedule Caste and Scheduled Tribe.
  • Reservations are to be made for the OBCs in various sectors like Public Sector Undertakings, banks, government services, schools, and colleges, along with universities.
  • A roster system should be made for the backward classes as that of Schedule Caste and Scheduled Tribe.
  • The Government of India to make necessary and required provisions to implement all these recommendations.

Impact of Mandal Commission

The Mandal Commission had its own advantages and disadvantages. While it gave privileges to the lower section of society, the egalitarian view of society was compromised. The following points mentioned below analyze the impacts of the Mandal Commission report and its merits and demerits:

  • The then Prime Minister V.P Singh announced the implementation of the Mandal Commission in 1990. This led to violent protests in the northern and western parts of India. Many students from different backgrounds immolated themselves in the protest.
  • However, the southern part of India had a mild reaction. As there were 50% of the reservations touched in these states. Moreover, the youth of these states were not dependent upon government-provided services because they had a better industrial sector. In 1993, Prime Minister Narshima Rao intended to implement the recommendations of the Mandal Commission. However, the reaction from the public was mild.

Mandal Commission Riots

There were segments of the population who did not assent to the idea of facilitating government jobs on the basis of birth class and caste rather than on merits. According to them, this mitigated the chances of the upper castes getting recruited into government services. The protests blocked the roads, highways transport etc. The protests were led by the students and were planned publicly. The Mandal riots and protests led to strikes, shutdowns, looting, damaging public property, etc. The riots led to the popularisation of the Mandal Commission.

Mandal Commission UPSC

Mandal Commission and its recommendations are often asked in the Mains and Prelims exam. Candidates can take a look at the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers to find out the types of questions asked on this topic. It mandates the need of comprehending the core concepts and fundamentals related to Mandal Commission recommendations. The candidates must solve the questions listed below to be able to get hold of the topic and answer the questions in the stipulated time period.

Mandal Commission UPSC Questions

This is an important topic for aspirants who are preparing for UPSC exams. Practicing these Mandal Commission sample questions or previous year’s questions will help you get an idea of the type of questions asked in exams on this topic.

Question. Mandal Commission is officially known by which of the following names? [A] Commission for the Tribal People’s Rights. [B] Commission for the Protection of Backward Classes in India. [C] Socially and Educationally Backward Class. [D] None of the above.

Answer: (Option: C) Socially and Educationally Backward Class

Question. Who was the Chairman of the First Backward Class Commission? [A] Kaka Saheb Khelkar [B] V.P Singh [C] B.P Mandal. [D] M.M Singh.

Answer: (Option A) Kaka Saheb Khelkar

Question: Choose the Correct Statement : [1] The Mandal Commission Participates and encourages the planning process of the people belonging to the lower strata of society. [2] It monitors and investigates all the matters related to the safeguarding of recommendations for the Schedule Castes.

Options: [A] Neither 1 nor 2,  [B] Both 1 and 2,  [C] Only 2, [D] Only 1

Answer: Option B ( Both 1 and 2 )

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