What Is the Difference Between SC, OBC, and ST Caste Certificates?

Historically, the caste system and the backward classes can be traced back to India’s ancient and medieval periods. As a result, the Central Government of India gave them their rights and classified them according to their social and economic conditions. 

Additionally, the government has set up two separate institutions for the welfare of the OBCs under its Ministry for Backward Class Division, including the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) and the National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC). The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is also responsible for handling the welfare matters of SC/ST people. However, there is a question as to whether the SC, ST, and OBC certificates are the same? Here is a detailed explanation of the same.

Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes: Who are they?

Sub-communities of the Schedule castes are deprived, oppressed, and have experienced extreme social isolation. People who did not belong to the four varna systems in India, namely, Kshatriyas, Brahmins, Shudras, and Vaishyas, were considered avarnas historically. These people were deprived of their rights during orthodox savarna rule in Indian society. After independence, the Government of India continued to use the term scheduled caste, which originated during the British period. 

However, the great mind of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the father of the Indian constitution, enabled the deprived and oppressed to be empowered about their rights, which were then incorporated into the Indian Constitution under articles 15, 29, and 45. 

Scheduled Tribes suffer the same afflictions, oppressions, and isolation as SCs. Nevertheless, there is a slight difference in meaning when defining scheduled tribes. Scheduled Tribes are marginalized people classified according to their geographic location. After Independence, the Government of India continued to retain the scheduled tribes that existed under British rule in 1931. 

Provisions for SC/ST under Indian law

B.R. Ambedkar, the father of the Indian constitution, always worked for the welfare, development, and upliftment of SC/STs. In 1989, the Government of India passed the Scheduled Caste Tribes (prevention of atrocities) Act in honor of the great Indian revolutionary leader who fought against the atrocities against SCs and STs. The Act was intended to prevent crimes and atrocities against SCs and STs. To end caste-based employment and mistreatment of SC/ST members, they also implemented the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Rehabilitation Act in 2013. 

Also, Scheduled tribe communities are notified under article 342 of the Indian constitution by the President of India. Articles 15 and 16 guarantee that people are not discriminated against because of their caste, gender, race, or religion. As per Article 46 of the Indian constitution, the states are directed to promote and protect the interests of scheduled tribes. Furthermore, the Indian constitution provides different provisions for people belonging to scheduled tribes and areas in articles 243D, 243T, 330, 332, 338 A, 164, and the fifth and sixth schedules. 

OBC: what is it, and how does it differ from SC/ST?

In history, the OBCs have also faced oppression and social, economic, and educational isolation like the SC/ST, but do not belong to the SC/ST are other backward classes. According to the Indian constitution, the President has the right to investigate the conditions of the backward class and work for their upliftment, welfare, and development. Article 340 of the Indian constitution identifies the backward class communities. A state-by-state list of other backward classes is maintained and updated by the NCBC under the direction of the President of India. 

OBC provisions under Indian law

The SC/ST and OBC also have their rights enshrined in articles 15 and 16. Additionally, state government-funded institutions and public employment are given priority. The Mandal commission of 1980 estimated that 52% of India’s population was OBC. Social, economic, and welfare issues of the OBC are handled by the NCBC and NBCFDC. 

What are the differences between SC/ST and OBC?

SC/ST members belong to the oppressed, deprived classes of society. OBCs are oppressed, deprived, and isolated because of their educational qualifications. In addition, the Government of India 1935 act recognized SC/STs. In contrast, the OBC was recognized under the 93rd amendment act in 2005. In comparison to SC/STs, OBCs are the most dominant group. In spite of the differences, the process for applying for the same certificate is the same. 

What is the cost of applying for a caste certificate?

The application process for SC, ST, and OBC certificates is straightforward. Caste certificate can be obtained online or offline. In order to apply online, you must visit the backward class welfare portal. In order to apply offline, you must visit the nearest Tehsil office, revenue office, SDM office, or CSC/SETU center. It will benefit your education, employment, and other purposes once you acquire your SC, ST, and OBC certificate. In addition, the cost of obtaining the certificate varies from state to state. Generally, the price ranges from Rs 10-500. 


A country’s citizens must have their rights and reservations protected. An SC, ST, and OBC certificate, as well as laws or provisions under India’s constitution, help recognize the rights of oppressed, deprived, and isolated people.

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