"The Government is fully committed to ensure equity and social justice to the OBCs and has decided to take up the Bill in the impending Parliament session, so that the National Commission for Backward Classes is a Constitutional Body with full powers to safeguard the rights and interests of members of Other Backward Classes," said a government source.
The government had introduced a Bill in the last session of the Parliament to grant Constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes, at par with the National Commissions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and it was passed in the Lok Sabha.
One amendment sought to increase the number of members of the proposed commission from three to five with reservation for a member from a minority community and another for women. Another amendment was about protecting the rights of states by making their recommendations binding.
"It was clarified by the Government that the proposed constitution of the NCBC and its powers and functions is on similar lines as the National Commissions of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and there is no infringement of the rights of the states.
The issue of ensuring diversity in the Commission is more appropriately addressed in the Rules. Therefore, the proposed amendments would only delay the process of passing the Bill," the source said.
"In spite of these clarifications, the amendments were passed, and granting of Constitutional status to the NCBC was delayed," the sources added.
As per the source, the Bill will now have to be sent to the Lok Sabha again, since the two houses have passed two different versions of the Bill.
The National Commission for Backward Classes, which is a statutory body created in 1993, was given limited powers, only to recommend to the Government inclusion or exclusion of a community in the central list of the OBCs.
This proposed bill, when enacted, will not only make the NCBC a Constitutional body, but will also empower the NCBC to hear complaints of OBCs, protect their interests and safeguard their rights.