April 5, 2017 6:36:52 pm
A bill seeking to create a new commission with constitutional powers for the OBCs like similar bodies for the SCs and the STs was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. Social Justice Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot introduced the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, a move seen as part of the ruling BJP’s aggressive outreach to politically crucial other backward castes.
He moved another bill to repeal the existing National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) by revoking the Act governing it, saying the commission proposed in the constitution amendment bill will be more empowered and make the existing body “redundant”.
The proposed commission will have a chairperson, vice-chairperson and three other members and hear the grievances of socially and educationally backward classes, a function discharged so far by the Scheduled Castes commission.
At present, the functions of the NCBC is limited to examining the requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class and hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any backward class in the existing quota and advise the central government, the constitution amendment bill said.
“In order to safeguard the interests of the socially and educationally backward classes more effectively, it is proposed to create a National Commission for Backward Classes with constitutional status at par with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes,” it says.
The bill will require the support of two-third members of the House for its passage.
Last month, the Cabinet had approved the setting up of the commission, bowing to the demand from OBCs for such a body which should have powers at par with the SCs and STs panels. The existing NCBC was set up as a statutory body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on August 14, 1993.
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