National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC)

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Overview:

The National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) has raised serious objections to the West Bengal government’s recommendation to include 83 castes in the central list of Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

About National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC)

  • NCBC was initially constituted by the Central Government by the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993, under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • It has been accorded constitutional status through “The Constitution (One Hundred and Second Amendment) Act, 2018”, whereby Article 338B has been inserted, forming a Commission for the socially and educationally backward classes to be known as the NCBC. 
    • The amendment inserted Article 338B, Article 342A, and Clause 26C in Article 366.
  • Composition: The Commission consists of a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, and three other Members in the rank and pay of Secretary to the Government of India.
  • The Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and other Members of the Commission shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.
  • Functions: It shall be the duty of the Commission
    • to investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the socially and educationally backward classes under this Constitution or under any other law for the time being in force or under any order of the Government, and to evaluate the working of such safeguards;
    • to inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the socially and educationally backward classes;
    • to participate and advise on the socio-economic development of the socially and educationally backward classes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State;
    • to present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards;
    • to make in such reports recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for the effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare, and socio-economic development of the socially and educationally backward classes;
    • to discharge such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare, and development and advancement of the socially and educationally backward classes as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify
  • The President shall cause all such reports to be laid before each House of Parliament along with a memorandum explaining the action taken or proposed to be taken on the recommendations relating to the Union and the reasons for the non-acceptance, if any, of any of such recommendations.
  • Powers:
    • While inquiring into any complaint, it will have all the powers of a civil court (it will be able to summon any person, ask for a document, and receive evidence on affidavits).
    • The Union and every State Government shall consult the Commission on all major policy matters affecting the socially and educationally backward classes.
    • The Commission shall have the power to regulate its own procedures.

Q1) What is Article 342A?

The Constitution (One Hundred and Second) Amendment Act 2018 has inserted Article 342-A in the Constitution of India pertaining to the Central List of Socially and Educationally backward Classes (SEBCs - commonly known as other backward classes - OBCs), which had authorized the President to specify the Central list of the SEBCs, in relation to a particular State or Union Territory. Further, any modification to the central list of the SEBCs (OBCs) can be done only by the Parliament.

Source: NCBC objects to Bengal demand to include 83 castes in OBC list