New Delhi: Vacancies in national commissions for backward, scheduled castes and minority communities will be filled immediately, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said here on Monday.
Naidu, who is the Information and Broadcasting Minister, said the Centre wants to give constitutional status to the backward class commission to make it "more powerful" and reiterated that the government is committed to the welfare of the communities concerned.
He made these remarks after the Congress-led opposition created an uproar in Rajya Sabha over the delay in filling up of vacancies in statutory commissions for minorities, SCs, STs and OBCs.
Lashing out at the opposition for targeting the central government, Naidu said instead of appreciating Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking a "historic" step towards strengthening the backward class panel, it is engaged in a negative campaign over the issue.
"Be it backward class, minority or scheduled caste commission, all commissions will be appointed immediately. There is no intention of going slow on it," he told reporters outside Parliament.
"The government is very much committed to the welfare of the backward class, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, the minorities," he added.
Seeking to deflate the opposition's attack, Naidu said the offices of the commissions are currently functional and only the appointments of chairpersons and panel members are to be made.
"I only want to say (that) there are political appointments on Commissions. When a new government comes, it makes new appointments on the commissions when the panels complete their tenures," he said.
Members on the panels concerned were appointed during the previous UPA-II regime.
Rajya Sabha proceedings were disrupted on Monday after the Congress-led opposition created an uproar over the issue. Soon after the House assembled for the day, the proceedings were adjourned thrice in quick succession due to the vociferous protests by the members.
The protests began after a Congress member raised the issue of the long-pending vacancies in these official panels during the Zero Hour and other members supported it.
Joined by SP, JD(U) and BSP members, Congress members trooped into the Well raising anti-government slogans, forcing Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to adjourn proceedings first for 10 minutes.