In 2014, the Committee on Subordinate Legislation of the Legislative Assembly had recommended to the Department of Social Welfare to give more powers to the J&K State Commission for Backward Classes so as to achieve the objective behind its establishment. This was felt imperative as the Commission has only recommendatory role and the final authority of declaring any area backward lies with the Government. The Committee had justified recommendation for amendments in certain provisions of J&K State Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1997 on the ground that large number of areas which qualify for declaring as backward were ignored and on the contrary the areas which with the passage of time have fully developed were still continuing to be in the list of backward areas.
However, what to talk of strengthening the Backward Classes Commission by giving it more teeth or powers, the Government has even failed to make it functional during the past more than three years. The matter is not receiving any attention by the concerned authorities especially the Ministry of Social Welfare. The result is that the interests of the Backward Classes remain nobody’s concern.
The exact problem at the moment is that of filling the post of Chairman and members of the Commission whose presence would give the Commission a new lease of life. As long as these vital posts are not filled, there can be no improvement in the functionality of the Commission. Actually, the Ministry of Social Welfare should have taken up the issue long back soon after the recommendation of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation. It has to be recalled that the Minister holding the charge of Social Welfare, Sajjad Gani Lone had announced on the floor of the House in the June last year that the higher ranking vacancies in the Commission would soon be filled. More six months have elapsed and there is no movement in the department for filling the vacancies.
It is becoming more and more difficult to understand why inertia of sort has overtaken our bureaucracy rendering it somewhat paralysed in performing the duties it should be performing by sheer momentum of time. Overall slackness has been noticed in many departments and reminders from higher authorities seem to have no impact. This type of complacency is unacceptable. We have the national plan of transforming the society meaning raising the standard of life of backward and other weaker sections of society. We have drawn plans after much skulduggery in the hope that these plans would be effective and result oriented if implemented earnestly. But we regret to say that the Department of Social Welfare is sleeping over many important matters that have been pending for long. We hope that the department will rise to its responsibilities and take steps to make the Commission functional.
The backward communities and areas will not wait longer just because they have shown remarkable patience till date. The department should ensure that they do not run out of patience which could be very distressing.