How NCSEBC is different from NCBC?
1. NCSEBC will be a constitutional body (like the commissions for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes) rather than a statutory body, like the NCBC.
2.Though this has less practical distinction, it could have important political implications.A modest agenda will limit itself to placing the NCSEBC on par with the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and the National Commission for the Scheduled Tribes (NCST).
3. This would require amendments to the Constitution, introducing additional Articles comparable to the existing Articles 338 and 338A (which establish the NCSC and NCST respectively), and 341 and 342.
4.These changes shift responsibility for amending the list of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) from the government to Parliament.
5.It also effectively takes away the power that the states currently have to determine their own OBC lists.
What will be the impact?
1.This does not alter the basic rules of the game, namely the definition of the category ―socially and educationally backward classes‖ and the existing limit of 50% on the total share of various reservation quotas.
2. Now that Parliament would have to decide whether to grant OBC status, it would no longer be possible for opposition parties to stoke agitations without bearing responsibility for the consequences.
3.The burden of handling the inevitable conflicts arising from a zero sum situation could also be shifted from the ruling party to Parliament.
4. A Zero sum situation arises where the entry of new castes necessarily implies a decline in the share of castes already included.
What are the shortcomings?
1. Parliament will determine who is a BC for the ‗Central‘ List, not NCBC.
2. New NCBC has no responsibility to define backwardness, so it cannot address the current challenge of well off castes‘ demands to be included as BCs.
3. Article 340 deals with the need to identify ―socially and educationally backward classes‖, understand the conditions of their backwardness, and make recommendations to remove the difficulties they face.
4. The 123rd amendment delinks the whole folio of backward classes from Article 340 and brings it closer to provisions related to SC/STs.
5. The main shortcoming of the current NCBC is that it has no power ―to hear the grievances‖ of the BCs.
6. Curiously, the SC commission has become the gold standard for those demanding the new NCBC. If the new body is as incompetent as its role model, the nation will be spared of a lot of avoidable problems.
7. The proposed system will treat the developmental issues related to BCs on a par with caste discrimination and untouchability suffered by SCs and even by STs.
8.The new NCBC will hear grievances, inquire into complaints, summon officials given its powers as a civil court,issue directions and have the right to be consulted by both Union and the States on policy matters related to BCs.
9.The whole business of inquiries into complaints, safeguards, recording evidence, etc. will result in the need to enact laws similar to the ones in existence for the protection of SC/STs.
10.One is right to assume that BCs do face discrimination and exclusion and they deserve state support. But there is no justification to suppose that their conditions are as bad as those faced by the SC/STs.