2022 GS2 Answer

Q. Discuss the role of the National Commission for Backward Classes in the wake of its transformation from a statutory body to a constitutional body.

Question from UPSC Mains 2022 GS2 Paper

Model Answer: 

National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC)

National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) was a statutory body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in India, established in 1993 in the wake of the Mandal Commission’s recommendations. It was designed to oversee and contribute to the advancement of the socially and educationally backward classes (SEBCs), which are the groups of people in India who have been subjected to historical disadvantages.

However, on August 15, 2018, the President of India gave his assent to The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Third Amendment) Bill, 2017, making NCBC a constitutional body. With this transformation, the NCBC gained more authority, independence, and responsibility. The change made a substantial difference in the role of the NCBC. Let’s explore this in more detail.


As a statutory body, the NCBC was under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, whereas a constitutional body operates independently. This independence allows the NCBC to function more impartially and autonomously.

Powers of a Civil Court

The constitutional status has given the NCBC the powers of a civil court while investigating or inquiring into any complaints. They can summon anyone, demand any document, and receive evidence on affidavits. They can also requisition any public record from any court or office. This gives the commission a greater reach and capacity to investigate and take action on the issues related to backward classes.

Role in Inclusion and Exclusion from OBC List

Earlier, the authority to include or exclude any caste from the Central List of Other Backward Classes (OBC) was with the government. But after the transformation, this authority has shifted to the NCBC, making it a powerful body that directly impacts the composition of the OBC list.


The Commission, in its new form, also includes a woman from a backward class, thus providing a more representative body that can better address the specific issues and challenges faced by women in these communities.

Advisory Role

The NCBC has an advisory role, providing the government with advice and recommendations on the socio-economic development of backward classes. This has remained unchanged, but the weight of their recommendations now holds more significance due to their constitutional status.


The constitutional status empowers the NCBC to monitor the implementation of safeguards provided to the backward classes under the Constitution and other laws. It can also check how efficiently the funds allocated for the welfare of the backward classes from the annual budget are being utilized.

To sum up, the transformation of the National Commission for Backward Classes from a statutory body to a constitutional body marked a significant shift, imbuing the commission with greater powers, more autonomy, and a broader mandate to work for the upliftment of the socially and educationally backward classes in India. It is a significant step towards ensuring social justice and equality, as envisioned by the Constitution of India.

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