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The Rajya Sabha on Monday passed a bill providing constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) during a debate on the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill 2017. More than two-third of those present voted in favour of the bill, which is required to amend the constitution. The NCBC bill had earlier been passed by the Lok Sabha on August 2.
Several members of the Rajya Sabha demanded that the findings of the caste census be made public and that reservation be implemented accordingly.
Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot, who moved the bill for consideration and passage, said that it would help the backward classes people fight atrocities against them and ensure they receive quick justice.
"This bill would provide justice to the OBC people," said Gehlot, adding "this is the need of hour".
However, the NCBC would not encroach upon the rights of the respective state governments as they would have their own backward class commissions.
"This commission has no relation with the state governments but is related to the Centre only," he said.
The National Commission for Backward Classes, which would have women representation as well, would recommend to the central government regarding inclusion of deletion of a particular caste on the list.
"This is an important issue. There was demand for a constitutional status to OBC Commission from the 1980s and Parliament had held discussions several times. It has been discussed by the Standing Committee," Gehlot said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the passing of the NCBC bill, terming it as a historic moment for the country.
"A historic moment for our country! I am glad that the Parliament has passed the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, which grants Constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes. This will contribute to the empowerment of the OBC communities across India," PM Modi tweeted.