Centre forms panel to revisit ₹8 lakh income limit for EWS quota
The Centre has formed a three-member committee to review the ₹8 lakh annual income limit to identify economically weaker section (EWS) for providing 10% quota in public jobs and educational institutions, the social justice and empowerment ministry said in an official memorandum. On Thursday, the Centre informed the Supreme Court that it had taken a “considered decision” to revisit the “criteria” for determining EWS to provide them reservation. The submissions came following repeated grilling by the top court over the last two months as regards to the methodology adopted by the Centre in fixing the income criteria for EWS uniformly across the country.
“In accordance with the commitment given to the Supreme Court to revisit the criteria for determining the economically weaker sections in terms of the provisions of the explanation to Article 15 of the Constitution, the Government hereby constituted a committee, ” the ministry said in the memorandum. The panel consists of former finance secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) member secretary VK Malhotra and Sanjay Sanyal, Principal Economic Advisor to the government.
The ministry said that the committee will re-visit the criterian in determining EWS category keeping in view the observations of the Supreme Court. “It will also examine various approaches so far followed in the country for identifying economically weaker sections, and recommend criteria that may be adopted for identifying EWS category in future,” it said.
The 10% EWS quota was introduced under the 103rd Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2019 which is under challenge before a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court.
Since the Act has not been stayed by the apex court, the government issued a notification on July 29 introducing 10% EWS quota along with 27% quota for OBC within AIQ seats for postgraduate medical courses from this academic year. By this decision, 2,500 PG seats in government medical colleges would go to OBCs and 1,000 to those from EWS.
This decision was challenged in a clutch of petitions that came up for hearing on Thursday. The income criterion of ₹8 lakh fixed by the Centre was one of the grounds taken by the petitioners to question the July 29 decision.