ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

The Unfinished Agenda of Social Justice

The proposed National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes armed with constitutional status has been touted as a move to appease disgruntled dominant peasant castes in various states and in lieu of the 2019 polls. This article looks at the potential implications.

On 23 March 2017, the union cabinet approved the setting up of the National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (NSEBC) as a constitutional body that would replace the existing National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC). This was soon followed by the introduction of the National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017 that sought to abolish the existing backward classes commission. A separate bill, the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Act, 2017 was brought in to institute the NSEBC as a body at par with the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) commissions. This implies that the amendments in the Other Backward Class (OBC) schedule would now require parliamentary approval; besides the commission itself is armed with the powers of a civil court. While these provisions are apparent and form the fundamental premise for replacing the existing body with a new one, there are policy and political implications that are inferential and have a far-reaching impact.

The proposed NSEBC has led to a great deal of speculation regarding the state’s motives and allusions. To be sure, the suspicions are not unfounded. The cabinet approval followed soon after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s triumph in the Uttar Pradesh (UP) assembly elections, wherein a large section of the OBCs seem to have moved decisively in BJP’s favour. There is also speculation that the NSEBC could be a move to tackle the increasing restlessness among dominant peasant castes in various states. In that case, is the constitutional status to NSEBC one of those masterstrokes, a move to trump the combined strength of the opposition in 2019? Well, cold electoral calculations have not been known to result in virtuous outcomes or just policy initiatives.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Updated On : 18th Aug, 2017
Back to Top