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Are the SC OBC, and ST Caste Certificates the Same?

In this blog, learn in detail about SC, ST, and OBC certificates and how are they different from each other.

Caste certificates – The origin of the caste system in India and the backward classes can be dated back to India’s ancient and medieval historical periods. However, they gained their rights and were classified as per their social and economic conditions by the Central Government of India. 

Furthermore, the government has set up two separate institutions for the welfare of the people belonging to the OBCs under the Ministry for Backward class division like the National Commission for backward classes (NCBC) and the National Backward classes finance and development corporation (NBCFDC). Also, there is a separate division for handling the welfare matters of the people who belong to the SC/ST called the Ministry of Social Justice and empowerment. But there has been doubt about whether the SC, ST, and OBC Certificates are the same. Let us go through the same in detail.

Who are Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes?

The SC caste full is Schedule castes. The SC category are the sub-communities classified as the deprived, oppressed, and have gone through extreme social isolation. Historically, there were considered avarnas, i.e., people who didn’t belong to the four varna systems in India, namely, Kshatriyas, Brahmins, Shudras, and Vaishyas. During the orthodox savarna rule in Indian society, these people were forced to work in inhuman conditions and were deprived of their rights. The term scheduled caste originated during the British period under part 14 of the 1935 act that the Government of India post-independence further retained. 

But it was the great mind of Dr. B.R Ambedkar, the father of our Indian constitution, that enabled the deprived, oppressed people to be empowered about their rights and further included in the Constitution of India under articles 15, 29, and 45 about their rights and reservations. 

The ST caste full form is Scheduled Tribes and ST’s are equally deprived, oppressed, and isolated from society like the SC caste. However, when defining the scheduled Tribes, there is a minor difference in the meaning. Scheduled Tribes are a group of marginalized people who are classified based on their geographical location. Like the scheduled caste, the scheduled tribe originated from the 1931 census under British rule that the Government of India further retained after Independence. 

Provisions for SC/ST under Indian law

As mentioned before, Dr. B.R Ambedkar, the father of the Indian constitution, always worked for the welfare, development, and upliftment of the SC/ST. Further, inspired by the great Indian revolutionary leader who fought against the atrocities of the SC and ST, the Government of India implemented the Scheduled Caste Tribes (prevention of atrocities) Act 1989 to prevent the crimes and atrocities against the people who belong to the SC/ST. Further, they also implemented the Prohibition of Employment as Manual scavengers and Rehabilitation Act in 2013 to end the caste certificate online-based employment and mistreatment of people who belong to SC/ST.

caste certificate

Also, article 342 of the Indian constitution gives the President of India the power to notify the communities belonging to the specific regions under the scheduled tribes. The fundamental rights under articles 15 and 16 assure the non-discrimination of the people based on caste, gender, race, religion, etc. Article 46 of the Indian constitution directs the states to work for the welfare and promotion of the interests of scheduled tribes and to safeguard them further. In addition to these, articles 243D, 243T, 330, 332, 338 A, 164, fifth and sixth schedule of the Indian constitution provide different provisions for people who belong to the scheduled tribes and areas. 

What is OBC, and how is the SC/ST caste certificates different from it?

The OBC caste are also people who are marginalized in history and even continue to face the oppression and social, economic, and educational isolation like the SC/ST but do not fall under the SC/ST are other backward class people. The constitution of India gives the President of India the right to investigate the conditions of the backward class and work towards their upliftment, welfare, and development. The Mandal commission of 1978 identifies the backward class communities under article 340 of the Indian constitution. The NCBC works under the President of India and notifies them about their tasks regarding maintaining and updating the state-wise list of the other backward classes. 

Provisions for OBC under the Indian Law

Like the SC/ST, the OBC category also have their rights enlisted under articles 15 and 16. Further, they reserve seats for public employment and state government-funded institutions. Based on the Mandal commission 1980, 52% of India’s population fell under the OBC. The NCBC and NBCFDC handle the social, economic, and welfare matters of the OBC. 

How is SC/ST different from OBC?

The SC/ST are people who belong to the oppressed, deprived classes of society. The OBC is where the people are oppressed, deprived, and isolated based on their educational qualifications. Furthermore, the SC/STs were recognized under the Government of India 1935 act. On the other hand, the OBC was recognized under the 93rd amendment act in 2005. OBCs are the most dominant group when compared to SC/STs. But no matter what the differences are, the process is the same when it comes to applying for the same certificate.

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How to apply for the caste certificate, and what is the cost of the application?

Applying for the SC, ST, and OBC certificate is simple. You can apply for the caste certificates online and offline. You need to visit the backward class welfare portal to apply online or visit the nearest Tehsil office, revenue office, SDM office, or CSC/SETU center to apply offline. Once you acquire your SC, ST, and OBC certificate, it will benefit your education, employment, and other purposes. Further, the cost of getting the certificate varies from state to state. But in general, the price is Rs 10-500/-. 


Overall, it is essential to protect the rights and reservations of every citizen in the country. The SC, ST, and OBC certificates and the laws or provisions under India’s constitution help recognise the oppressed, deprived, and isolated rights. 

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