Published on: December 21, 2021

EWS QUOTA

EWS QUOTA

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A committee examining the income criteria for determining EWS is likely to submit its report to the Centre soon.

WHY WAS THE COMMITTEE SET UP?

  • After the Supreme Court questioned the income criteria for defining EWS, and termed it “arbitrary”
  • SC noted that the ceiling for determining EWS (Rs 8 lakh) is the same as the limit for determining the other backward classes (OBC) “creamy layer” for reservation for the children of people outside of government.
  • Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment announced the committee to “revisit the criteria for determining the economically weaker sections” in terms of the provisions of the explanation to Article 15 of the Constitution. It comprises former finance secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Indian Council for Social Sciences Research (ICSSR) member secretary V K Malhotra, and Principal Economic Advisor to the Government of India Sanjeev Sanyal.

WHEN WAS THE INCOME CRITERIA FIXED?

  • 103rd Amendment to the Constitution
  • Persons who are not covered under the scheme of reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs, and whose family has gross annual income below Rs 8 lakh, are to be identified as EWSs for benefit of reservation. It also specifies what constitutes “income”, and excludes some persons from the EWS category if their families possess assets specified in the notification
  • Reservation was granted based on the recommendations of a commission headed by Major General (retd) S R Sinho. The commission had been constituted by the then UPA government in March 2005, and submitted its report in July 2010.
  • Sinho Commission recommended that all below poverty line (BPL) families within the general category as notified from time to time, and also all families whose annual family income from all sources is below the taxable limit, should be identified as EBCs (economically backward classes).
  • Present income ceiling of Rs 8 lakh fixed for EWS is the same as that for OBCs for quotas for people outside of government. For the OBC quota in government, there is a different criteria based on the ranks of the parents of the candidate. Outside of government, there is an income criteria, which was raised from Rs 6 lakh to Rs 8 lakh in 2017.