The government plans to reintroduce a bill in the Lok Sabha this Winter Session that will give the National Commission for Backward Classes the powers to safeguard the rights and interests of Other Backward Classes, PTI reported.

“The government is committed to ensuring equity and social justice to Other Backward Classes and has decided to take up the bill in the upcoming session,” an unidentified official told PTI.

The proposed amendment bill – to make the commission a constitutional body – was introduced and passed in the Lok Sabha in the last Parliament session. The Rajya Sabha then passed the legislation, but with certain amendments. As this resulted in two different versions of the bill being passed by the two Houses, it will now have to be reintroduced in the Lok Sabha.

The National Commission for Backward Classes was set up in 1993, with powers to only recommend to the government whether to include a community in the central list of Other Backward Classes.

The power to hear complaints and protect the interests of Other Backward Classes was vested with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Giving the commission constitutional status means bringing the two on par, officials said.