Two years after the term of National Commission for Other Backward Classes (NCBC) got over, the Central government has proposed to constitute a new commission.
According to sources, the proposal to establish the commission as well as names of those who will constitute the NCBC has been sent to President Ram Nath Kovind’s for approval.
The list of three proposed members include BJP leader and former Varanasi mayor Kaushalendra Singh Patel, BJP national secretary Sudha Yadav, and Telangana BJP general secretary Achary Talloju.
“Once the names are approved, the new commission will for the first time enjoy Constitutional status, on par with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes,” a source said.
This is in keeping with the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill approved by Parliament in August 2018.
The NCBC, which until now only had only a recommendatory role on the issue of inclusion or exclusion of a community in the Central list of OBCs, will now have all powers of a civil court when it comes to handling complaints and welfare measures for socially and educationally backward classes. Until now, the NCSC, which handles such cases with regards to Dalits, was also in charge of looking into similar complaints of rights violations of people belonging to backward classes.
A move to cut sway of regional parties on OBC votes
Setting up the NCBC with Constitutional status is seen as one of the many moves by the Narendra Modi government to undercut the sway of regional parties over OBC votes in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. Similar steps include a proposed OBC count during 2021 census, upward revision of the OBC creamy layer ceiling, and setting up of the Justice (Retd) G Rohini Commission in October 2017 to examine OBC sub-categorisation.
The term of the last NCBC chairperson, Justice V Eswaraiah (retd) got over in September 2016, while that of its last member expired by February 2017.
In April 2017, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot, while introducing the Bill in Parliament, also introduced National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017, to repeal NCBC Act, 1993.
“The 1993 Act required the Commission chairperson to be a retired judge of SC or HC. Since that law has been repealed and the new one grants Constitutional status, there is no such requirement,” S K Kharventhan, a former NCBC member, said.