National Commission for Backward Classes Current Affairs

120 castes/communities notified in Central OBC list in last 3 years: Government

Central Government has notified inclusion of 120 castes/communities, their synonyms and sub-castes in the Central List of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) for different States/Union Territories in the last three years. It was informed by Ministry of State for Social Justice and Empowerment in written reply in Lok Sabha.

Key Facts

The castes and communities, their synonyms and sub-castes were notified on basis of advice tendered by National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) under Section 9(1) of NCBC Act, 1993. The NCBC determines inclusion of castes/communities in the Central List of OBCs on the basis of norms established w.r.t. social, educational, economic, representation in central services and miscellaneous parameters. The castes and communities listed in the Central OBC list get reservations in appointments in government jobs and admissions into government institutions.

National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC)

NCBC is statutory body established under NCBC Act, 1993 in the aftermath of Mandal Case (1992) judgement. It was established on directives of Supreme Court as it had ordered to set up permanent statutory body to look into complaints of under-inclusion, over-inclusion or non-inclusion of any class of citizens in list of OBCs.

Composition: NCBC comprises Chairman, Social Scientist, two persons having special knowledge in matters of backward classes and member secretary. The chairperson must have been Judge of Supreme Court or High Court.  Their appointments, removal and decision regarding salaries, allowances etc. are done by the Central Government. Chairperson and members have tenure of three years.

Functions & Powers of Commission

NCBC examines request for inclusion of castes into backward classes and hear complaints of over and under inclusion. Its advice is generally binding upon central government. Further, every 10 years, the central government undertakes revision of the lists by consulting it. The commission has powers of a civil court in few matters.

Report of Commission

NCBC presents annual report to Central Government containing full account of its activities during previous year. The report is placed before each House of Parliament by Central Government, along with memorandum explaining action taken on advice tendered by Commission. The memorandum also contains reasons for non-acceptance of any such advice.

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Constitution 123rd Amendment Bill, 2017 passed in Lok Sabha

Lok Sabha has passed Constitution 123rd Amendment Bill, 2017 which seeks to give constitutional status to National Commission for Backward Classes. The bill was passed by the house with 360 MPs voting in favor and 2 against the bill.

Objectives of the Bill

The Constitution 123rd Amendment Bill seeks to make the following changes:

  • It seeks to insert a new article 338B in the constitution which provides for NCBC, its composition, mandate, functions and various officers.
  • Insert a new article 342-A which empowers the president to notify the list of socially and educationally backward classes of that state / union territory. In case of a state, president will make such notification after consultation with the Governor. Under the same article, it is proposed that parliament by making a law can include or exclude the classes from the central list of backward classes.

Background

The government had created a Commission for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes via a resolution in 1987. It was given constitutional status by passing Constitution (65th amendment) Act, 1990, leading to creation of National Commission of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (NCSCST) in 1992. Via the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003; the NCSCST was split into two different commissions viz. NCSC and NCST by inserting Article 338-A. NCSC was mandated to look into the grievances and complaints of backward classes also. However, in 1992, the Supreme Court in Indra Sawhney case had directed the government to create a permanent body to entertain, examine and recommend the inclusion and exclusion of various Backward Classes for the purpose of benefits and protection. Towards this, the parliament passed National Commission for Backward Classes Act in 1993 and constituted the National Commission for Backward Classes as a statutory body. Currently, this body is responsible to look into the inclusion and exclusion of backward classes only. To safeguard the interests of these classes more effectively, there was a need to give constitutional status to NCBC. For this purpose, the above said amendment has been introduced and passed in Lok Sabha. The bill will now need to be passed in Rajya Sabha to become act.

Since the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 becomes irrelevant  once this bill becomes an act; Lok Sabha has also passed a separate bill to repeal that act.

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