The OBC Bill provides constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), which was established under the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993. The power of examining complaints regarding the inclusion or exclusion of individuals or groups in the list of backward classes. The 123rd constitutional bill finally got a nod from the Supreme Court in August 2018 after being not established as a law in 2017 due to lack of majority in the house and inserted a new Article 338B.
This new bill gives the commission to investigate and monitor for the safeguard of the socially and educationally backward classes with the powers of a civil court while investigating and also gives it the power to summon any person across the country and also enforce their presence. As of earlier the commission for SC / ST used to hear for the grievances of the OBCs. The new bill also provides for having a chairperson for the commission, a vice-chairperson, and three other members who will be appointed by the President. The tenure and working conditions for all the members will be decided by the President. BJP government also assured that the committee would include a woman member also. The NCBC will be working for the socio-economic upliftment of the OBCs.
Duties of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) are –
- Investigation and Monitoring of the safety and provisions provided to the backward classes under the constitution and other implemented laws.
- It can inquire about the violation of the rights-specific complaints.
- Annual reports should be presented to the President, and to be tabled in Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies.
- To give advice and make recommendations on the socio-economic development of the backward classes.
Reports suggest, that there is less than 15% reservation in the government sector jobs for the OBCs. According to the reports of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) 8.4% grade A pots are occupied by OBCs, mentioned Ram Gopal Yadav, SP, Uttar Pradesh. He even said during the parliamentary debate on the OBC Bill that, there is no need for an OBC creamy layer, as raising the limit of the creamy layer won’t benefit anyone. And also, that, though there is a need to increase the reservation in jobs for the OBCs but getting jobs alone won’t help much. The mindset of people needs to change too. Parties like Biju Janata Dal and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party asked for the power to add or eliminate in the list of backward classes to be laid in the hands of the State and not Centre the state knows better about what kind of people belong in that particular State while Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) asked for reservation for the OBCs even in the private sector. Some even asked for the filling of the reserved vacant seats and that the member of the committee should be chosen from the individuals belonging to the OBC category. However, article 342 A authorizes the President to specify for the socially and educationally backward classes in consultation with the Governors of the respective States. The present members to NCBC are Dr. Bhagwan Lal Sahni as the chairperson, Dr. Lokesh Kumar Prajapati as the Vice-Chairperson, Shri Ajoy Kumar as the Secretary, and the other three members are – Dr. Sudha Yadav, Shri Kaushalendra Singh Patel, and Shri Achary Thalloju.