NEW DELHI: Amid the controversies over caste-based reservation, the Modi government is going to stir a hornet’s nest by raising the annual income cap of OBC “creamy layer” candidates to Rs 8.50 lakh from Rs 6 lakh.
Implemented by the UPA government in 1993, the “creamy layer” is the income ceiling that separates well-off Other Backward Classes candidates from the poor who are eligible for quota benefits.
The Ministry of Social Justice has arrived at this figure after a series of consultations with various ministries and also after analysing the inflation limit. “We have almost finalised the figure. It will be between 8.25 lakh to 8.50 lakh. The proposal is waiting Cabinet approval,’’ a senior official with the social justice ministry told Express.
After the decision gets Cabinet approval, the Human Rresource Development ministry and the Department of Personnel and Training will be directed to issue appropriate orders to Central educational institutions and departments to implement the new criterion.
The raised “creamy layer” cap will bring more OBCs into the reservation net. The National Commission for Minority Commission, headed by Justice V Eswaraiah, submitted its report in October recommending that the income ceiling be raised to Rs 15 lakh from the current 6 lakh fixed in 2013.
The official said there was a huge demand for increasing the ceiling beyond Rs 10 lakh. The Parliamentary Committee on the Welfare of OBCs had wanted the OBC income ceiling raised to Rs 20 lakh.“Such a high ceiling would amount to a mockery of the very concept of the creamy layer,’’ he said.
The first ceiling for OBC reservation was fixed at Rs 1 lakh annually in 1993, which was later revised to Rs 2.5 lakh in 2004. It was raised to Rs 4.5 lakh in 2008 before being increased to Rs 6 lakh in 2013.The government move is significant as more communities such as the Jats and Patidars are on the agitation path demanding their inclusion in the OBC list.