3. In simple words, the term ‘backward classes’ can be defined as a social category which consists of all the socially, educationally, economically and politically backward groups, castes, and tribes.
Description of the Backward Classes:
The Backward Classes Commission in its Report of 1956 described the Backward Classes as consisting of the following groups:-
1. Those who suffer from the stigma of untouchability or near untouchability. These groups are classified as scheduled castes (SC).
2. Those tribes who are not yet sufficiently assimilated into the mainstream of the national life. These groups are classified as Scheduled Tribes (ST).
3. Those tribes who, due to long neglect, have been forced to commit crime. These tribes were previously known as criminal tribes (before 1953) and are presently called Denotified Tribes or Ex- Criminal Tribes.
4. ‘Other Backward Classes’ which consist of
(a) those nomads who have no occupation of a fixed habitation and are given to mimicry, begging, jugglery, dancing, etc.,
(b) Communities consisting largely of agricultural or landless labourers,
(c) Communities consisting largely of tenants without occupancy rights and those with insecure land tenure,
(d) Communities consisting of a large percentage of small land owners with uneconomic holdings,
(e) Communities engaged in cattle breeding, sheep breeding or fishing on small scale,
(f) Artisan and occupational classes without security of employment and whose traditional occupations have ceased to be remunerative,
(g) Communities, the majority of whose people, do not have sufficient education and therefore have not secured adequate representation in Government services,
(h) Social groups from among Muslims, Christians and Sikhs who are still backward socially and educationally, and
(i) Communities not occupying positions in social hierarchy.