Cover Story

Getting OBC Card Becomes Easier!

  In order to spread awareness and help people to find the form, The Eastern Post here presents all the necessary information regarding this.
Are you a Muslims belonging to OBC tribe and finding it difficult to get an OBC card for not having proof of caste? Don't worry! The West Bengal government, in an unprecedented way has announced that only an affidavit can serve the purpose. In this way the government has tried to make the eligibility for applying for OBC certificate more flexible only to bring maximum possible number of Muslims under the category.
A senior official from OBC Welfare Department told that a person can obtain a form from the concerned SDO or BDO office. Some people who have already acquired the said certificate said that a person needs to take resident proof along with income certificate and a certificate provided by the local councilor for this purpose. Showing these documents in the BDO or SDO office will help them getting a form. The form needs to be filled very carefully.
The State Backward Class Welfare Department and the West Bengal Commission for Backward Classes have held several meetings to finalize the new set of guidelines based on which OBC certificates will be issued in the future. Senior officials at the State Backward Class Welfare Department told The Eastern Post that this is aimed at bringing maximum possible number of Muslims under the category so that they can avail the job reservation facility, as Muslims had earlier faced lots of problem in getting into the category due to lack of documents.
Earlier only people in the age group of 4- 40 years could apply for OBC certificate. However, the upper age limit has been abolished, considering the fact that the persons belonging to Other Backward Classes can require OBC certificates even beyond the age of 40 years as job opportunities are still open. Hence, no age proof for granting OBC certificate will be necessary.
This apart, applicants were needed to submit a series of documents to prove their permanent residence and citizenship. But the process would be made simpler as the government has decided that submitting any document like bank passbook or driving license would be good enough to establish one's residential address.
The state also decided that if one's parents have an OBC certificate, he can be issued an OBC certificate directly. But those whose parents don't have the certificate, they can get the certificate issued if they produce any government document, like land deed, mentioning that they belong to the OBC category and are the residence of the state from 1993.
Those who don't have any kind of document, but feel they are eligible for OBC certificate, can apply too. But in this case, a hearing and enquiry would be conducted by the commission. The state government is initiating a plan to hold the hearing even in remote areas by setting up camps.
Meanwhile, the commission has expedited the process of bringing in more Muslim communities under the OBC category. Recently, eight more Muslim communities have been included in the OBC category.

Criteria & Proofs
The government in a memorandum presented guidelines for issuance of OBC Certificate. They are:
"Application for OBC certificate can be submitted by applicants living in Block areas to the concerned Block Offices, and by applicants living in municipal areas within a Sub-Division, to the concerned SDO offices. For Kolkata, such applications can be submitted to the office of the District Welfare Officer, Kolkata, who may also arrange to receive application in Borough offices of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation also. Concerned offices receiving applications shall invite the applicants for hearing on 2nd or 4th Wednesdays within 60 days from the date of application and ask them to come personally with all original documents furnished in support of their claims."
However the memorandum further mentions six criteria for obtaining the form.
a. The candidate must be a citizen of India.
b. He is a permanent resident of West Bengal since 15-03-1993.
c. He is an ordinary resident at the address currently residing.
d. He belongs to the said community/ class.
e. His identity.
f. The applicant does not fall under "creamy layer'.
To avoid any type of confusion and to make people get their certificates, the government clarified that the citizenship certificate, voter ID card, PAN card of self or of parents, Birth Certificate from Competent Authority, Caste certificate of parent, would be sufficient to prove the Indian citizenship criterion. If it is found that these documents are misrepresented than it would be questioned.
For proof of permanent residence, the candidate can show Land deed or land tax receipt, Voter list proving residence since 1993, Birth Certificate proving residence since 1993, Ration Card proving residence since1993, Caste certificate of parent(s).
Many times most of the applicants for OBC certificates are unable to produce certificate of paternal blood relation as a proof of class identity. This is more so in view of a good number of classes being recently added to the list of OBCs. In those cases, their class identity is to be decided on field enquiry and public hearing. In such cases, to facilitate easy identification, an affidavit from the applicant in the format attached to this order, may be obtained wherein the applicant is to declare his eligibility to obtain OBC certificate. Unless there is any contrary evidence received during field enquiry and hearing, normally the affidavit shall be acceptable for ascertaining his class status and eligibility.
The government abolished the old system where candidates were asked to furnish declarations by five or even ten persons of the applicant's locality certifying the applicant's class identity. This causes undue harassment to the applicants. It is hereby clarified that such declaration is not needed for disposal of an application for OBC certificate. Where documentary proof as to eligibility to obtain OBC certificate is not available, field enquiry or public hearing is to be held. In such enquiry/hearing, evidences from local persons are to be recorded. Depositions from local persons may also be taken. An application for OBC certificate without any documentary proof or with insufficient documentary proof submitted along with the application is to be disposed of as per findings of the field enquiry / hearing together with affidavit and certificate from local Panchayat / Municipality.
Moreover, special camps would be held at regular intervals to facilitate timely disposal of all applications for OBC certificate, In such camps, receiving of applications, public hearing and distribution of certificates are to be made. Camps are to be organised in such a manner so that all applications are disposed of within eight weeks from the date of submission of such application. Such camps are to be organised in all the High and Higher Secondary Schools, as most of the applicants for OBC certificates are School or College students.
A new format of application form for OBC certificate (with minor modifications on the existing format) has been developed and communicated to all concerned. Both the formats can be used for filing application for OBC certificate. The format is also available in the BCW Department website The website may be viewd regularly to find out the latest developments in this matter as all major policy decisions in respect of OBC certificates including latest lists of OBCs are available in the website.