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Inclusion of 80 Castes in OBC List by NCBC


National Commission for Backward Classes(NCBC) is processing the request for the approval of about 80 more castes in six States, (Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana) for the inclusion in the OBC list.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Other Backward Class (OBC)
  2. About National Commission for Backward Classes

About Other Backward Class (OBC):

  • OBC refers to socially and educationally backward classes of citizens.
  • The Supreme Court has ruled that the creamy layer, i.e., socially and economically advanced individuals within the OBC category, should be excluded from reservations.
Role of National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC):
  • NCBC is a statutory body responsible for reviewing requests for caste inclusion in the Central OBC list.
  • The commission forms a Bench to examine proposals and forwards its decisions to the Union government.
  • Once approved by the cabinet, legislation is enacted, and the President notifies the changes.
Constitutional Provisions:
  • Article 15(4) empowers the state to make special provisions for the advancement of socially and educationally backward classes, including OBCs.
  • These provisions include reservation of seats in educational institutions, financial assistance, scholarships, and housing.
  • Article 16(4) allows the state to enact laws for the reservation of appointments or posts in favor of OBCs.
Achievements of the Union Government:
  • Since 2014, the government has added 16 communities to the Central OBC list in Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The 105th Amendment to the Constitution affirms states’ rights to maintain their own OBC lists, preserving the benefits for 671 State OBC communities.

About National Commission for Backward Classes

  • 102nd Constitution Amendment Act, 2018 provides constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).
  • It has the power to look into welfare claims and programmes for socially and academically disadvantaged groups.
  • Prior to this, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment was responsible for the NCBC as a statutory organisation.
Background of NCBC
  • Two Backward Class Commissions were appointed in 1950s and 1970s under Kaka Kalelkar and B.P. Mandal respectively.
    • Kaka Kalelkar commission is also known as the First Backward Classes Commission.
  • The Supreme Court ordered the government to establish a permanent committee to consider, investigate, and recommend the inclusion and exclusion of various Backward Classes for the purpose of benefits and protection in the Indra Sawhney case of 1992.
  • The National Commission for Backward Classes Act, passed by parliament in 1993 in accordance with these directives, established the NCBC.
  • The 123rd Constitution Amendment bill of 2017 was presented in Parliament in order to better protect the interests of underprivileged groups.
    • The National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993, was repealed by a different law that was approved by Parliament, making the 1993 Act obsolete.
  • The bill got the President assent in August 2018 and provided the constitutional status to NCBC.
  • The Commission consists of:
    • Chairperson
    • Vice-Chairperson
    • Three other Members in the rank and pay of Secretary to the Govt of India.
  • Their condition of service and tenure of office has been notified by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • NCBC is headquartered in Delhi.
Constitutional Provisions
  • Article 340 deals with the need to, inter alia, identify those “socially and educationally backward classes”, understand the conditions of their backwardness, and make recommendations to remove the difficulties they face.
  • 102nd Constitution Amendment Act inserted new Articles 338 B and 342 A.
  • The amendment also brings about changes in Article 366.
    •  will be required if the list of backward classes is to be amended.
NCBC- Powers and Functions
  • The commission 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.
  • It participates and advises 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.
  • It presents to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards. The President laid such reports before each House of Parliament.
  • Where any such report or any part thereof, relates to any matter with which any State Government is concerned, a copy of such report shall be forwarded to the State Government.
  • NCBC has 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.
  • It has all the powers of a civil court while trying a suit.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023