‘Creamy layer’ income bar for OBCs raised, new panel for sub-categories
The government on Wednesday announced a panel for sub-categorisation of other backward classes for a “more equitable distribution” of quota benefits, as it raised the income ceiling for “creamy layer”.
The creamy layer, the ceiling that bars people in the OBC category from getting reservation in jobs, has been raised from Rs 6 lakh a year to Rs 8 lakh.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley said the commission, which will have to present its report in 12 weeks from the date it is formed, will examine the extent of inequitable distribution of reservation benefits among the castes and communities.
The minister, who was talking to mediapersons after a cabinet meeting, said there was no plan for a relook at the reservation system as he also ruled out sub-categorisation of scheduled castes on the lines of OBCs.
The sub-categorisation move is being seen as a poll ploy ahead of the next round of state elections, including those for Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.
The other poll-bound states are Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan and then the big one – 2019 Lok Sabha poll.
The move could lead to political realignments in states, bringing together a coalition of non-dominant castes among the OBCs to upstage regional leaders whose politics revolves around dominant caste groups such as Yadavs in the Hindi heartland and Jats in Rajasthan
To expand base, the ruling BJP has been wooing the scheduled castes as well as OBCs, especially financially and socially weaker sections among them.
Sub-quotas were a way to ensure that the benefits of caste-based reservation were not corned by the dominant groups among the OBCs, the government said.
“The commission will work out the mechanism, criteria, norms and parameters, in a scientific approach, for sub-categorisation within such OBCs; and take up the exercise of identifying the respective castes, communities, sub-castes, synonyms in the central List of OBCs and classifying them into their respective sub-categories,” Jaitley said.
Eleven states, including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Haryana, West Bengal and Bihar, have already done that in state jobs.
The now-scrapped national commission for backward classes in 2015 had recommended three categories for OBCs -- extremely backward classes, more backward classes, and backward classes.
It proposed division of the 27% quota for OBCs according to the population and degree of backwardness.