NEW DELHI: The government is considering setting up a Constitutional body on the lines of the SC/ST commission for the Other Backward Classes (OBC), a move significant in the run up to elections in Bihar later this year. As of now, the OBCs have, what is called, the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), which is mostly engaged in streamlining additions and deletions to the list of OBCs eligible for reservations. A parliamentary forum, an ad hoc committee of OBC MPs, made this demand at least twice to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sources in the government confirm that some thought has been applied on the matter.
“We have met the prime minister twice over the matter and his attitude has been more than positive,” said Rajen Gohain, BJP MP from Nagaon in Assam and chairman of the committee. “The OBCs require a Constitutional body of this kind to look into their various issues, and while it is constitutionally mandated for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes to have one, we too feel the need for one.” Another member of the 30-men committee said that “it is the first time that a Backward Classes man is the prime minister with a full majority. We feel that it is the ideal time for it”.
Sources in the government said that while a Constitutional amendment will ordinarily be required to set up a commission of this kind as the word “OBC” is not mentioned in the Constitution, “a way around it, which is being actively considered, is to pass an Act mandating this body, which could go through with a simple majority,” said a source in the government.