- National Commission for Backward Classes
National Commission for Backward Classes
Focus: GS II: Polity and Governance
Why in News?
Shri.Hansraj Gangaram Ahir assumed charge as Chairperson, National Commission for Backward Classes.
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- The National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993, was repealed by a different law that was approved by Parliament, making the 1993 Act obsolete.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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Article 338B provides authority to NCBC to examine complaints and welfare measures regarding socially and educationally backward classes.
- Article 342 A empowers President to specify socially and educationally backward classes in various states and union territories. He can do this in consultation with the Governor of the concerned State. However, the law enacted by Parliament 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.