The National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) has recommended raising the annual income bar of Other Backward Classes (OBC) creamy layer from the existing Rs 4.5 lakh to Rs 9 lakh.
If the UPA cabinet accepts the recommendation, 70% of the country's OBC population will be able to avail reservation benefits outside the creamy layer, claims NCBC sources. Currently, if an OBC family’s annual income exceeds Rs 4.5 lakh, it is considered to be in creamy layer, becoming ineligible for reservation quotas.
The NCBC's move comes at a time when political parties are playing caste-cards, ahead of the crucial Uttar Pradesh assembly polls. UP CM and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati has also written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, demanding reservation for upper caste poor and Muslims in government jobs and educational institutions.
The Congress-led UPA government is also contemplating reservation for Muslims in these two places, as Union law minister Salman Khurshid had said in Hyderabad on Sunday.
“We sent our recommendations to the government last week. We expect the Centre would soon take decisions,” said Shakeel-uz-Zaman, NCBC member.
In its report to the government, NCBC cited that the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission has raised the income level of government employees. Increased fee structure of educational institutes and price index too, have affected several economically weaker OBCs and therefore, it sought the government’s steps to address these anomalies.
“In this time of high inflation, the value of a Rupee has also gone down. The aim of the creamy layer is to stop richer sections among OBCs from taking all benefits. But now the income ceiling of the creamy layer needs to be revised to avoid weaker sections from being deprived,” said another member of the commission.
The UPA government had revised the creamy layer ceiling from Rs 2.5 lakh in 2004 to Rs 4.5 lakh in 2008 after it extended 27% OBC quota in Central educational institutes. The social justice and empowerment ministry is studying the proposals.