New panel with more powers will look at quota demands

A Bill to amend the Constitution to insert this provision is planned to be introduced in Parliament soon.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: March 24, 2017 9:16 am
quota demands, jat, jat agitation, jat quota, National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes, nsebc, nsebc bill, backward classes, quota, india news , latest news A Bill to amend the Constitution to insert this provision is planned to be introduced in Parliament soon. (File Photo)

Moving quickly on one of the promises made to the Jat community while persuading them to suspend their agitation on job reservations, the government has approved a proposal to create a new National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (NSEBC) and give it Constitutional authority. A provision would be inserted into the Constitution to provide for such a Commission. A Bill to amend the Constitution to insert this provision is planned to be introduced in Parliament soon.

The decision to create NSEBC, which will recommend the inclusion or exclusion of castes from the list of Other Backward Classes for the purpose of job reservations, is the result of assurances given by the government to Jats, and also Patels who, too, have been demanding quotas for themselves.

A quick decision on NSEBC was one of the main promises made to the Jats while asking them to withdraw their planned agitation in Delhi earlier this week. Thousands of people from the community were planning to protest in the Capital from Monday before the government convinced them to suspend their agitation.

The government had assured the Jats that the first task NSEBC would take up, after coming into existence, would be to conduct a survey to see if there exists enough “quantifiable data” to justify their claim for OBC status.

The NSEBC would replace the existing National Commission on Backward Classes that was set up through an Act of Parliament in 1993 following directions of the Supreme Court. The National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC) is not a Constitutional body.

NCBC was also created with the same objective in 1993 on the directions of the Supreme Court but it lacked certain powers that similar commissions for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes enjoyed. The National Commission on Scheduled Castes and National Commission on Scheduled Tribes are both Constitutional bodies.

Specifically, the NCBC, which was set up through an Act of Parliament, was not empowered to act on grievances of OBCs regarding discrimination being faced by them or non-implementation of reservation rules by government authorities. The commissions for SCs and STs have the powers to redress such grievances.

There was a growing demand over the years to strengthen the legal foundations of NCBC and bring it at par with its sister bodies on SCs and STs. The creation of NSEBC is a response to that demand.

While approving the creation of NSEBC, the Cabinet simultaneously gave its consent to the dissolution of NCBC and repeal of the 1993 NCBC Act that created it.

The proposed NSEBC, as approved by the Cabinet, would comprise of a chairperson, a vice-chairperson and three other members, a government statement said.

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