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LUCID MAINS CURRENT AFFAIRS 2018

  1. NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR BACKWARD CLASSES

WHY IN NEWS?

The National Commission for Backward Classes was recently in news because it was granted constitutional status by both the houses of parliament.

WHY A CONSTITUTIONAL BODY?

The National Commission for Backward Classes, which was a statutory body created in 1993 (It was constituted pursuant to the provisions of the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993), was given limited powers, only to recommend to the Government inclusion or exclusion of a community in the central list of the OBCs.

This new bill, when enacted,  make the NCBC not only a Constitutional body, but will also empower the NCBC to hear complaints of OBCs, protect their interests and safeguard their rights .In short it helps to increase the efficiency of the body.

CONSTITUTIONAL STATUS:

In 2017, a bill seeking to grant constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes is scheduled to be passed in Parliament. The bill was passed by Lok Sabha in April 2017 and is got the assent of the Rajya Sabha. The NCBC Bill, passed by Lok Sabha in 2017, will insert Article 338B in the constitution.

Indra Sawhney & Others. Vs. Union of India

The commission was the outcome of Indra Sawhney & Others. Vs. Union of India. The Supreme Court of India in its Judgement–directed the Government of India, State Governments and Union Territory Administrations to constitute a permanent body in the nature of a Commission or Tribunal for entertaining, examining and recommending upon requests for inclusion and complaints of over-inclusion and under-inclusion in the list of OBCs. The Supreme Court held that the Constitution recognised only social and educational — and not economic — backwardness

KEY FEATURES OF THE BILL:

  • It provides the NCBC the authority to examine matters related to backward classes.
  • It authorises the president to specify the socially and educationally backward classes in various states and union territories.
  • Provides the scope for consultation with the Governor of the concerned state.
  • The NCBC will comprise of a five member body and their tenure and conditions of service will be decided by the president through rules.
  • The NCBC will have the powers of a civil court while investigating or inquiring into any complaints.
  • The powers include summoning people and examining them on oath, requiring production of any document or public record and receiving evidence.

COMPOSITION:

The Act provides that the Commission shall consist of five Members:

  • a Chairperson who is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court;
  • a social scientist;
  • two persons who have special knowledge in matters relating to backward classes; and
  • A Member-Secretary, who is or has been an officer of the Central Government in the rank of a Secretary to the Government of India.
  • Their term is of Three years.

Functions:

  • The commission considers inclusions in and exclusions from the lists of communities notified as backward for the purpose of job reservations and tenders the needful advice to the Central Government
  • Inquiring into specific complaints regarding violation of rights.
  • Investigating and monitoring how safeguards provided to the backward classes under the constitution and other laws are being implemented.
  • Requires to present many to the president on the working of the NCBC.
  • These reports will be tabled in the parliament and in the respective state legislative assemblies.

Merits:

  • It aims to provide justice to the socially and economically backward sections of the society.
  • Helps to bring in social equality.
  • Ensure women representation.
  • Does not encroach into the powers of the States, because states will continue to have their own commissions.
  • It brings NCBC on par with the commissions already existing for SC/ST.

Challenges:

  • many states have not implemented 27 per cent reservation to the Other Backward Class
  • Grassroot level implementation is a herculean task.
  • OBCs have negligible representations in Supreme court and High court.
  • Skewed representation of OBC in different forums.
  • Scope of reservation is limited when NITI Aayog is promoting private-public partnership.

WAY FORWARD:

  • Need to provide proper representation to the backward classs in the deprived section to join the national mainstream.
  • The reservation should be given based on properly held census based.
  • Sub categorization of OBC will ensure increased access to benefit.