Bill to form commission for backward castes soon: Minister

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New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) The government will bring in the Lok Sabha a bill for the formation of a commission for backward castes on the lines of the ones for scheduled castes and minorities in the next few days, Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said on Tuesday.

The Minister of Information and Broadcasting also slammed the opposition parties for disrupting the Rajya Sabha over the issue of various commissions, including formation of OBC commission, and appointments in the scheduled castes and minorities commissions.

“Truth is not palatable to the Opposition. They are disrupting the House but they don’t want a debate on the issue because they know the truth will be out,” the minister said.

The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday witnessed repeated disruptions as opposition members protested the delay in filling vacancies in statutory commissions for different castes, tribes and minorities. The upper house was finally adjourned for the day around 3 p.m.

Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati raised the issue during the Zero Hour.

Yadav said the government’s idea behind renaming of the National Commission for Backward Classes was to “target certain castes by excluding them from the list of backward castes”.

Naidu, however, said that once the commission would be formed, Parliament will have the power to add or remove castes from the list, just like the SC and ST Commissions.

“The power to add or remove castes will be with Parliament, not with the government. Why should Opposition have objection to that,” the minister asked.

He added that the castes, which were already in the list of backward castes, will be protected.

The bill comes after the Union Cabinet on March 24 cleared a proposal for setting up of the National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes, a new constitutional body to address grievances and claims of backward classes.

The minister also said that appointments in the other commissions were delayed because the government wanted the term of all members to end, so that the whole commission could be appointed in one go.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also slammed the Opposition for disrupting the upper house over the issue.

“In the last two days, the Opposition has stalled Rajya Sabha on the issue of SC, ST and minority commission appointments, and they are coming up with all sorts of stories,” Naqvi said.

“In the past, posts in these commissions have stayed vacant for a long time without any genuine reason for the delays. But, under the present regime, since the Code of Conduct was in force due to elections, appointments couldn’t be made,” he added.

–IANS

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