Explained: Revisiting definition of EWS

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What is the News?

A three member-committee set up to examine the income criteria for determining the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) is expected to submit its report to the Centre.

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What is the current income criteria fixed for EWS?

EWS reservation was granted based on the recommendations of a commission headed by Major General (retd) SR Sinho.

The current criteria fixed for EWS is:

Source: Indian Express
Read more: Supreme Court sets aside Madras High Court remarks on EWS quota
Why has the Supreme Court called the income ceiling limit arbitrary?

The Supreme Court observed that the ​​present income ceiling fixed for EWS is the same as that for OBCs for quotas for people outside of government.

This is arbitrary because of two reasons: 

Firstly, the Income criterion in respect of the OBC category is aimed at the exclusion of a creamy layer from the OBC category while in the case of the EWS category, it is aimed at the inclusion of the poor.

–  Secondly, the OBC category is socially and educationally backward and therefore has additional impediments to overcome as compared to those belonging to the general category. In these circumstances, it would be arbitrary to provide the same income limit both for the OBC and EWS categories.

Moreover, the court also questioned on what basis has the asset exception been arrived at and was there any exercise undertaken for that purpose. It also asked the reason why the residential flat criterion does not differentiate between metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas.

Read more: Questionable criterion: On EWS quota income limit
What has the Central Government done after this?

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has announced the formation of a 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.

Source: This post is based on the articleExplained: Revisiting definition of EWS published in Indian Express on 21st Dec 2021.

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