There would be more competition for filling up seats reserved for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) as the government is set to increase the creamy layer ceiling from 4.5 per annum to 6 lakh.
It would mean that families earning six lakh or more per annum will not be eligible to seek OBC reservation benefits in government jobs and admissions in institutes of higher education. The government has reserved 27 % seats for OBCs.
The proposal likely to come before the Cabinet on Thursday is aimed at making the creamy layer realistic in terms of increasing incomes and inflation. Therefore, the government has tabulated the new creamy layer on basis of Consumer Price Index of December 2011.
The second attempt is to ensure that there are more eligible candidates to fill the vacant seats in higher education institutions and government jobs.
Seats for OBCs in premier educational institutions such as IITs and IIMs have remained vacant and also in government jobs despite special recruitment drives. As per University Grants Commission, around 30 % seats reserved for OBCs in centrally funded higher education institutions had remained vacant.
In March 2008, the government had increased the creamy layer ceiling from 2.5 lakh per annum to 4.5 lakh with a similar aim. But, that did not happen as in the last four years the government believes that average income has increased by around 33 %, thereby removing many OBCs from the quota ambit.
The government has, however, rejected the recommendation of the Other Backward Classes Commission to increase the creamy layer to around 12 lakh per annum.
In another inclusive bid, the Cabinet is also expected to consider a new pre-matric scholarship for Scheduled Caste (SC) students studying in classes IX and X. If approved, the government will pay for tuition fees and books of meritorious SC students in these classes.
There is already a similar post matric scholarship scheme for SC. The new proposal of the Social Justice and Empowerment ministry is to widen the government’s social inclusion programme.