National Commission of Backward Classes has been in existence for more than 25 years. Assess the powers and role of commission in tackling issues faced by backward castes.

National Commission of Backward Classes has been in existence for more than 25 years. Assess the powers and role of commission in tackling issues faced by backward castes.
Introduction:

The National Commission of Backward Castes (NCBC) as a statutory body was set up under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in accordance with the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993. It has the power to examine complaints regarding inclusion or exclusion of groups within the list of backward classes and advise the central government in this regard. The commission was the outcome of Indra Sawhney & Ors. Vs. Union of India (1993). The 102nd amendment (2018) granted constitutional status to the National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC) at par with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.

It repeals the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993. Also a new article 338B has been inserted in the constitution which provides for NCBC, its composition, mandate, functions and various officers.

POWERS AND FUNCTIONS OF NCBC
  1. The NCBC, which only had 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 with the Constitution Amendment Bill. These powers include-
  • Summoning people and examining them on oath,
  • Requiring production of any document or public record, and
  • Receiving evidence.

2. The NCBC investigates and monitors all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the socially and educationally backward classes under the Constitution or under any other law to evaluate the working of such safeguards.

3. It inquires into specific complaints regarding violation of rights of backward classes and advising and making recommendations on socio-economic development of the socially and educationally backward classes.

4. The central and state governments will be required to consult with the NCBC on all major policy matters affecting the socially and educationally backward classes.

5. The NCBC also presents an annual report to the President on working of the safeguards for backward classes.

ASSESSMENT OF THE ROLE OF COMMISSION IN TACKLING ISSUES FACED BY BACKWARD CASTES
  1. After the constitutional status, the NCBC gets powers on par with NCST and NCSC. The step will ensure suitable power and authority to the commission to redress the grievances of the OBC employees in government and private sectors. One can register one’s grievances to the NCBC through mail also and the commission will acknowledge the complaint and act accordingly.
  2. As per the article 342(A), there will be a Presidential list issued first in consultation with the governor of the state and any subsequent change in the list can be made only by parliamentary law. This will bring more transparency to the entire process.
  3. Article 338B keeps the socially and educationally backward classes as its subject matter; it will treat the developmental issues related to Backward Classes on a par with caste discrimination and untouchability suffered by SCs and even by STs.
  4. It would help the backward classes people fight atrocities against them and ensure quick justice to them.

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