Modi regime, through the BJP's front outfits on social media campaigns, keeps circulating a view among groups series of vulnerable for propaganda, that they are liberally doing so much to the down-trodden, particularly to Other Backward Class (OBC) category. One such item much-hyped for propaganda is the recent upgradation of the status of NCBC (National Commission for Backward Classes) from the initial statutory status to that of a Constitutional Status. Much contrary to this propaganda, the government is in fact systematically undermining the OBCs' right to equality of opportunity through questionable methods, by rendering the institution of NCBC a mere ornamental one and a tool of Government, instead of allowing it to remain independent and get guided by it, as an institution to pursue OBC empowerment at large, in the framework of the constitutional.
The way the government prevailed over NCBC to toe its questionable stand for inclusion of "Salary Income" for computing the family income - one of the criteria for deciding creamy layer status is a striking example to illustrate the fact that the changed status of NCBC did not in fact render it a powerful institution to serve the cause of OBCs more effectively, but on the contrary still remained an instrument to endorse anti-OBC policies. The claim therefore is clearly hollow.
When the Government of India during February 2020 announced its decision to include salary income for computing "family income" for ascertaining "Creamy Layer Status", the NCBC in March, 2020, opposed the move and sent a letter to the Government registering its strong protest. But subsequently the government prevailed over NCBC, and finally for reasons unknown, NCBC was made to accept the decision of the Government which seriously undermines the empowerment process of OBCs who are least represented in public employment but are the exclusive victims of the idea of creamy layer..
The striking irony is that while the Government is supposed to take the advice of NCBC - which is supposed to be composed of experts - on matters relating to OBC empowerment, it is strange that NCBC is made to toe the line of Government in a way that impedes equal opportunity to OBCs, the largest social category. Then the question arises as to what great favour is done to OBCs in upgrading NCBC to a constitutional status.
As long as NCBC is not composed of experts in the field, and as long as that body is not allowed to be independent in its functions and decision making process and as long as its advice is not honored, but subordinated even to the views of committees, that have neither a statutory status nor a constitutional Status, no useful purpose would be served to the cause of OBCs; thus the propaganda on behalf of the government that it is doing so much to the OBC's remains a hollow claim. In reality, OBCs in general and their reservation in particular are systematically targeted by the Modi regime to deprive them of their right to equality of opportunity in public employment and the right to enter institutions of higher learning.
(K Kondala Rao is a practicing lawyer in Andra Pradesh High Court and an activist for empowerment of the backward classes. He is the author of 'Ee shatabdi BC Vaadam' in Telugu, and 'OBC and State Policy' in English published by Critical Quest)