The Rajya Sabha select committee examining the bill seeking to accord constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes submitted its report Wednesday. Following clause-by-clause voting, the panel headed by Bhupendra Yadav has approved the bill in its current form with a few minor changes. The bill, passed by Lok Sabha earlier, will insert clause 338B for establishing such a constitutional body following Articles 338 (National Commissions for SCs) and 338A (National Commission for STs).
One of the fears expressed by Opposition members in the panel was about weakening the powers of the state governments in identifying backward classes. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment informed the committee that the amendments would not interfere with the states’ powers. On the insistence of some members, however, a clause was added to specify that when it comes to socially and educationally backward classes from a particular state, the President can recommend their inclusion in the central list “only with prior recommendation of the state government”.