As reported on February 22, 2020 the Government of India has made a committee headed by B.P. Sharma which has made a proposal to include economic condition as a yardstick to determine creamy layer while giving reservation to Other Backward Classes. This decision will make the economic deprivation override factor leaving behind the social and educational conditions. According to the recent report of the parliamentary panel on the welfare of OBCs, the representation of OBC in top-tier jobs is already very low. OBC comprise only 13% of all employees in the Group A category of government jobs, 14% in Group B and 22.6% in Group C.
Excluding the creamy layer (the concept was introduced in 1993), the socially and educationally backward OBCs are getting 27% of reservation in government jobs and educational institutions.
The committee also made a suggestion to increase the income ceiling from 8 lakhs per annum to 12 lakhs. These suggestions are being considered by the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry.
Justice V. Eswaraiah who was the former Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court and ex-acting chairman of the National Commission for Backward Classes, said that “The criteria fixed in 1993 did not allow the inclusion of salary and income from agriculture in the gross family income for creamy layer calculation. The idea was that persons holding constitutional and high posts and top businessmen, doctors and lawyers would not get reservation. If salary is included, social backwardness will become a minor consideration for reservation. This is wrong,”
He also made a point that this suggestion would defeat the purpose of providing reservation to non-creamy layer OBCs as it was provided to fight against the social backwardness which was the result of our regressive caste system.
Shashank Ratnoo also made a remark that “It will demean the meaning of creamy layer reservation…. If the creamy layer criteria include salary, all parents ranging from drivers, peons, clerks, electricians, sepoys and teachers will become creamy layer as parents’ salary income will be considered at the time of their children’s recruitment. It will act as the death knell for OBC reservation.”
Hansraj Jangra, the president of the OBC Joint Action Committee, said that “a gradual shift towards economic criteria would result in large-scale vacancies in OBC seats and the impoverishment of the people of the community. It would make the proposed categorisation of OBCs for equitable distribution of quota irrelevant,”
A protest will be held by the OBC groups in Delhi on March 23, 2020 against this proposal.
Author - Aditi Dubey