The Narendra Modi government will set up National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (NSEBC) that will replace the existing National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) that looks into inclusion or exclusion in the OBC quotas.
The union cabinet, chaired by the prime minister, approved the proposal of setting up of the new commission on Thursday.
According to sources, the new panel will be made into a constitutional body and its recommendations shall, “ordinarily be binding” upon the central government. The related bill is expected to be brought before Parliament in the ongoing budget session.
The panel is mooted amid the renewed demand of the Jat community to get a quota in the Central list of OBCs.
Last week, the Jats had threatened to take their agitation to the national capital but the Centre and the Bharatiya Janata Partyruled Haryana government deftly negotiated with them to get more time to negotiate.
The new commission “shall examine requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the lists and hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any backward class in such lists and tender such advice to the central government as it deems appropriate,” said a source.
“There have been demands in Parliament and by the general public for grant of constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes to enable it to hear the grievances of OBCs in the same manner that a National Commission for Scheduled Castes and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes hear the grievances of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes,” said the source.
Sources pointed out that while the earlier panel only looked at possible exclusions or additions of classes in the OBC category, the new panel will have a much wider ambit to deal with casteand class-related issues.
Critics, however, questioned the government’s move to form an entirely new panel. Shakeeluz-zaman Ansari, a retired member of the NCBC told HT, “The Centre could have amended the law to make the existing NCBC a constitutional body.” Ansari said he suspected that as the constitution of the new body will take time, the government might use this opportunity to delay the negotiations with the Jat protesters.
A senior bureaucrat indicated that the scope of the new panel may be expanded to include claims of more casts or classes to placate key social groups for the ruling dispensation.