Economically Weaker Sections 10% Reservation & It’s Loopholes

 1st Amendment Act 1951,says

Empowered the state to make special provisions for the advancement of socially and economically backward classes .

 Art 46 says

Promotion of educational & economic interest of SC,ST & *other Wekaer sections*

 Preamble Says

In public policy domain the term has to be appreciated in the context of the “Preamble” to India’s Constitution,which seeks Justice- social, economic and political.

 Definition of Economically Weaker Sections

There is no coherent single / unique definition for EWS in India.

It is defined differently for different schemes run by the Government. Further, state and central (Union/Federal) governments may set different criteria for deciding on the EWS status.  

Governments periodically review and re-fix income ceiling levels for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) to keep it relevant & contemporary.

 

*Some of the definitions of EWS adopted by Central /State Governments*👇

 

 

 

1)

ISHUP Scheme, EWS were classified in 2009 as Households with monthly income of upto Rs 3,300 (or 39600 /annum) while those with monthly income between Rs 3,300 and Rs 7,300 were termed as LIG. Government, later in 2010, revised the income ceiling in respect of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) from the earlier limit of ‘upto Rs. 3300’ to ‘upto Rs. 5000’ or Rs. 60,000 a year and for LIG to Rs. 10,000 from Rs. 5,001. On 14 November 2012 this was further revised such that urban poor having an annual household income of up to Rs. 1 lakh were classified as EWS and those falling between Rs. 1 lakh and 2 lakhs were categorized as Low Income Group (LIG). The revised criteria, has been approved based on growth in per capita income, minimum wages for non-agriculture workers, monthly per capita expenditure, National Housing Bank’s Residential Price Index, and Consumer price index & consumer food price index.

 

Rajiv Rinn Yojana (RRY) has been formulated by modifying the Interest Subsidy Scheme for Housing the Urban Poor (ISHUP) piloted in the 11th Plan period with enhanced scope and coverage. RRY is a Central Sector Scheme applicable in all the urban areas of the Country. RRY is an instrument to address the housing needs of the EWS/LIG segments in urban areas as well as to channelize institutional credit to the poorer segments of the society thereby, increasing home ownership in the country. Rajiv Rinn Yojana is effective from October 1, 2013. RRY provides for interest subsidy of 5% (500 basis points) on loans granted to EWS and LIG categories to construct their houses or extend the existing ones. The upper limit for loan is Rs 5 lakh for EWS and 8 lakh for LIG (interest subsidy would, however, be limited to the first Rs 5 lakh of the loan amount, in case the loan exceeds this amount). Under RRY, Economically Weaker Section (EWS) is defined as households having an average annual income up to Rs. 1,00,000/- while Low Income Group (LIG) is defined as households having an average annual income between Rs.1,00,001/- and up to Rs.2,00,000/-. More details on RRY may be seen here.

 

2)

*Under the new Housing Scheme*– Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana launched in 2015 with the aim of providing Housing for all by 2022, EWS households are defined as households having an annual income of up to Rs.3,00,000. States/UTs have the flexibility to redefine the annual income criteria as per local conditions in consultation with the Centre. The mission supports construction of houses upto 30 square meter carpet area with basic civic infrastructure, to be registered preferably in the name of the female head. The mission seeks to address the housing requirement of urban poor including slum dwellers through following programme verticals:

 

Slum rehabilitation of slum dwellers with participation of private developers using land as a resource provided at concessional rates by the government

Promotion of Affordable Housing for weaker section through credit linked subsidy

Affordable Housing in Partnership with Public & Private sectors: Providing Central Assistance per EWS house in affordable housing projects where 35% of constructed houses are for EWS category

Subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction.

3)

*Under Section 2 (e)  of Right to Education Act*, (The Right Of Children To Free And Compulsory Education Act, 2009) a “child belonging to weaker section” means a child belonging to such parent or guardian whose annual income is lower than the minimum limit specified by the appropriate Government, by notification; For instance, Delhi Government has specified the EWS child as a child resident in Delhi for the last three years with annual parental income of less than Rs. 1 lakh. They are given 25% reservation in seat allotments. On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh has fixed the income ceiling at Rs. 60000. Various definitions of EWS adopted by various states for the purposes of implementing Right to Education.

Definition of Disadvantaged Group & Weaker Section: https://mhrd.gov.in/rte_dws

Patients belonging to the economically weaker sections (EWS) are referred to identified private hospitals in Delhi for being provided with free treatment, particularly when such hospitals were set up on land obtained under concessional terms from the government[1]. For the purposes of this, EWS is defined as those with monthly income upto or less than Rs. 8086/-.

 

 *Economically Backward Classes (EBCs)*

A concept similar to EWS used in India, is Economically Backward Classes (EBC). Citizens having annual income less than Rs.1 lakh and who do not belong to any social category such as Schedule Caste, Schedule Tribe and Other Backward Classes (SC/ST/OBC) have been categorized as Economically Backward Classes (EBCs). For instance, the term EBC is adopted in Dr. Ambedkar Post-Matric Scholarship for the Economically Backward Class Students.

 

*The Central Government had set up a Commission for the Economically Backward Classes in January, 2004*. The Commission was reconstituted on 03.03.2005.  

The revised terms of reference of the Commission were as follows👇

 

to elicit the views of State Governments/UTs and other Commissions on the subject;

to suggest criteria for identification of economically backward classes;

to recommend the welfare measures and quantum of reservation in education and government employment to the extent as appropriate; and

to suggest the necessary constitutional, legal and administrative modalities as required for the implementation of their recommendations.

 

The Commission for the Economically Backward Classes submitted its Report to the Government (Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment) on 22.7.2010[2]. The aforementioned scholarship schemes were launched for EBCs subsequent to the submission of this report.

 *Sinho Commission 2010* report govt cited to push 10% never spoke of EWS quota

 

The master stroke for GOI  to bring EWS in 2019.

1)

The report noted that economic criteria cannot be the indicator for identifying backward classes for reservation and that EWS can be identified by states “for extending welfare measures only”.

2)

The Sinho Commission report of 2010, which the Centre has been citing as the basis for its legislation to grant 10 per cent reservation to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) mainly among upper castes, never explicitly recommended a reservation for EWS but was only emphatic about ensuring that the EWS get access to all welfare schemes.

3)

The report noted that economic criteria cannot be the indicator for identifying backward classes for reservation and that EWS can be identified by states “for extending welfare measures only”. Rajya Sabha passed The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019 for granting 10 per cent EWS reservation on Wednesday, a day after it was passed by Lok Sabha.

4)

Sinho Commission 2010 report govt cited to push 10% never spoke of EWS quota

The report noted that economic criteria cannot be the indicator for identifying backward classes for reservation and that EWS can be identified by states “for extending welfare measures only”.

The three-member commission, headed by Major Gen (Retd) S R Sinho, was instituted by the UPA government. (Illustration by C R Sasikumar)

The Sinho Commission report of 2010, which the Centre has been citing as the basis for its legislation to grant 10 per cent reservation to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) mainly among upper castes, never explicitly recommended a reservation for EWS but was only emphatic about ensuring that the EWS get access to all welfare schemes.

The report noted that economic criteria cannot be the indicator for identifying backward classes for reservation and that EWS can be identified by states “for extending welfare measures only”. Rajya Sabha passed The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019 for granting 10 per cent EWS reservation on Wednesday, a day after it was passed by Lok Sabha.

*The three-member commission, headed by Major Gen (retd) S R Sinho, was instituted by the UPA government and had submitted its report in July 2010*.

 

5)

In the chapter reviewing the history of attempts to extend reservation to EWS, the report stated: “The Commission gathers the Constitutional and legal understanding that ‘Backward Classes’ cannot be identified for providing reservation in employment and admission in educational institutions on the basis of economic criteria and hence ‘Economically Backward Classes’ (EBCs) can be identified by the State for extending welfare measures only”.

6)

Moreover, it said that “in order to provide any quantum of reservation to them (EBCs) two essential aspects need to be considered”. Listing the first aspect, the report notes that economic backwardness needs to be combined with social and educational backwardness for the purpose of reservation. And secondly, that the 50 per cent upper limit for reservation is binding on the State until the Supreme Court gives a different direction or a Constitutional amendment is made.  

7)

The same points are repeated by the Commission in its final recommendations where it notes that “reservation in Indian context is a form of affirmative action.. for socially and educationally backward classes of citizens”.

8)

The stand of the Commission with regard to reservation for EWS was reiterated in a Parliament reply by the NDA government itself in March 2015. In a written reply to a question by Lok Sabha MP from BJP Poonamben Madam on whether the government proposed to give reservation in government jobs to EWS persons, *Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, stated, “The Commission for Economically Backward Classes (CEBC) which submitted its Report to the Government on 22nd July, 2010 did not recommend the reservation for Economically Backward Classes*.”  

 

The reply also cited *Supreme Court’s Indra Sawhney order to state that “economic backwardness cannot be the sole criterion for providing reservation*”.

9)

Before the legislation was passed by Rajya Sabha 2019, in its official version on the floor of the House, *the government had referred to the Sinho Commission report and stated that the 2010 report recommended reservation to the EWS*. It also said that the chairperson and two members of the Commission had stated in the report how they travelled across the country, consulted most state governments before taking their decision.

10)

However, in its report, on the stand of the states, the Commission noted that, “The Commission obtained views of states/UTs on quantum of reservation and with the *single exception of Rajasthan*, most of the states have not framed any conclusive opinion about reservation to EBCs among General Category.” ( *Rajasthan* government had in 2009 issued a notification for granting 14 per cent EWS reservation which was later set aside by the High Court).

The report noted that while all states were non-committal about EWS reservation, there was “remarkable unanimity on the issues of extending welfare measures to the EBCs among GCs” (general category). Moreover, both the National Commission for Minorities and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, whose views were elicited by the Sinho Commission, had held that economic status fluctuates and hence reservation, which was brought in to undo historic injustice, is not the solution. What is required is proper implementation of poverty alleviation schemes, both stated.

 

*The Sinho Commission too recommended welfare measures for EWS including easy access to existing schemes in the areas of housing, healthcare, sanitation, skill development, and ensuring that EWS women in General Category avail jobs under NREGA and such children get special scholarships to pursue their education*.

 

The Commission also recommended that for providing immediate relief for the 5.85 crore EWS population (about 1 crore families as per NSSO 2004-05 data) in General Category, the Union government should announce an initial relief package of Rs 10,000 crore (at the rate of Rs 10,000 per family) till the time a formal budgetary mechanism is created to launch dedicated welfare measures.

 Some Updates & Loopholes of Quota(Personal View)

10% reservation under Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category is applicable to those persons who are not covered under the existing scheme of reservations for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes.

But no relaxation age, number of attempts, fees etc. is available to such candidates as on date.

Constitutional 1st amendment 1951 Act says in its provisions that it is empowered the states to make special provisions for the advancement of Socially & economically backward classes.

Article 46 under DPSP says : Promotion not educational & economic interests of other weaker sections of society(where EWS can be)- Supreme Court on Jan 2020 said the state have the soul power to grant EWS QUOTA ,Centre has no role on it.

This question raised since it’s implementation, but no one is hearing us , Recently on 08.02.2020 MP(GVL NARASIMHA RAO,UP) raised the question in RAJYA SABHA :-“Today, I raised in the Zero Hour in Rajya Sabha the issue of age relaxation for employment for those eligible for reservation under Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) category, a historic legislation by our government last year.” Please listen.  

https://t.co/gPUwB5hCZd

 

This is Inequality because we are not getting the benefits as par with OBC,SC,ST aspirants.

When it was implemented, former CJI KG Balakrishnan also said :- There should be no discrimination if we are bringing Reservation it should be Eqaul between EWS & OBC & age relaxation should be given to EWS . (mentioned on Financial Express newspaper)

Many States didn’t implemented example: Odisha,TN,KA & other states of India , As Supreme Court says on 07.01.2020 that it’s upto states to provide Reservation , it is also some kind of Inequality that States are not implement this EWS Quota ,where it is rightly mentioned that Do welfare of society under ,as it is legally not binding but it should be mandatory to states to implement to provide same kind opportunity where Art 16 says there must be Eqaulity of opportunity in case of Employment .

Social justice ministry tried ‘education handicap’ plea to push  

age relaxation for upper castes(April 2020)

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/social-justice-ministry-tried-education-handicap-plea-to-push-age-concession-for-upper-castes/articleshow/75030349.cms

 

 EWS QUOTA loophole

This is regarding the EWS quota. Sir the idea of EWS quota is visionary. It envisages to provide a level playing field for needy people. But sir there are some loopholes/flaws that keep the deserving out of the reservation benefit.

Sir, according to the rules the residential plot limit in municipal areas is 100 sq yards or 900 sqft. Here municipal area includes metropolitan cities to tier-3, tier-4.  900 sqft in metropolitan cities may cost crores but in small towns it may go down as low as some lakh. They can not be clubbed in one category.

It is a grave injustice for candidates from small towns where plot prices are too less compared to metros. So obviously their land holding makes them ineligible for EWS category, even though they rightfully deserve iti

 Solution

Each town or city has different price for plot. Instead of keeping a upper ceiling for plot area, government should keep the price ceiling(monetary equivalent of plot) for comparison.

Candidates from small towns are already at a disadvantage compared to their counterparts living in metropolitan areas. This issue further pushes them behind.

EWS further decreases the number of seats from the unreserved category. So the ones who could not get a certificate are at disadvantage compared to others. Instead of helping, this reservation is pushing behind a big section of real EWS candidates. Kindly take this issue urgently and fix the loopholes for which the country would remain ever grateful to you.

 

Letter to Thawarchand Gehlot (April 2020)

Hon’ble Mr.Gehlot. Minister, Mosje. GOI, New Delhi.

Sir.

We on behalf of EWS forum Odisha like to draw your kind attention to the afore mentioned issue.  

 Students are facing severe financial hardship due to poverty and lack of external support from state as well as Central government.  

 The criteria fixed for getting EWS Reservations are highly discriminatory.

 It becomes difficult to complete study in time without govt help and as a result they end up in passing qualifying examinations with a delay of two or three years.

 It is natural that they fail to appear in competitive examinations due to age bar which is caused due to delay in passing qualifying examinations.

 It is established norm to extend age relaxations to all SC,ST and OBC to allow candidates to compete in examination even after five years of scheduled age bar.

 In view of the existing age relaxations for SC ST or OBC, we request you to extend the same facility to our EWS candidates for which act of your gracious act we will remain ever grateful to you.

 Sir, as per our information, 80% of the migrants stranded enroute to home states due to Corona lockdown belong to EWS who migrate to other states as they don’t get job in offices due to lack of reservation, nor they get the opportunity to study as they don’t get financial assistance as SC ST get.  

 So they opt to become labourer in other states due to poverty and urgency to meet financial needs of helpless families.Hardly any SC ST go to other states as they get sufficient money to study and reservation facility to get jobs, for which they don’t opt to become labourer in other states.

 Kindly take note that they may revolt after loss of livelihood due to Corona shutdown or lockdown.  

 So it is your duty to give some benefits to them so that they remain cool in post Covid19 economic mess.

 As the Cabinet minister of MOSJE it is your responsibilty to do justice to these discriminated lot of EWS.

 We once again pray your highness to decide about age relaxations for EWS and parity with other reservation.

 We are fully supporting Corona war and interested to make sacrifices from pension paid to us.  

Thanking you.  

With regards.  

Kulamani Mishra & Rabindra Mishra.

Odisha EWS Forum Bhubaneswar,Odisha

 

Cc- Honorable PM Shri Narendra Modiji.

Copy forwarded to Shri Amit Shah ( Honbl’e MHA), Shri Dharmendra Pradhan (honbl’e Minister,PNG,Steel), Mrs N.Sitharaman( Minister, Finance). and other dignitaries to take up the issue for earlier settlement of the grievances of EWS who are worst sufferers due to lockdown and economic slowdown.

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