What is the News?
A three-member panel set up by the Government of India to review the eligibility criteria of Economically Weaker Sections(EWS) has submitted its report.
The panel has suggested that its recommendations be implemented only from the next admission cycle and not the ongoing one as any sudden change will cause major disruption across educational institutes and create complications for both beneficiaries and the authorities.
|Must Read: Explained: Revisiting definition of EWS|
What are the recommendations given by the panel on the eligibility criteria of EWS?
Firstly, drop the existing criteria on residential asset size. This is because mere possession of a residential house may not correctly reflect the economic condition of the candidate or his family, especially if it is used only as a dwelling unit and not for generating any income.
– However, the panel has backed excluding all candidates with agricultural land over 5 acres. It said that removing this limit could result in big landowners being included in EWS as currently there is no income tax on agricultural income and this may escape being included in the gross annual income.
Secondly, it has suggested retaining the existing gross family annual income limit of Rs 8 lakh as it is ‘just and fair in the present circumstances. Moreover, income criteria of EWS and OBC cannot be compared as EWS criteria is more stringent than the one for the OBC creamy layer because:
– EWS’s criteria relates to the financial year prior to the year of application, whereas the income criterion for the creamy layer in the OBC category is applicable to gross annual income for three consecutive years.
– In the case of the OBC creamy layer, income from salaries, agriculture and traditional artisanal professions are excluded from the consideration whereas the ₹8 lakh criteria for EWS includes all sources, including farming.
Thirdly, a three-year feedback loop cycle may be used to monitor the actual outcomes of these criteria and then be used to adjust them in future.
Fourthly, data exchange and information technology can be used actively to verify income and assets and improve targeting for EWS reservations.
|Read more: Questionable criterion: On EWS quota income limit|
Source: This post is based on the article ‘Retain Rs 8 lakh EWS cap for admissions, recommends panel’ published in TOI on 3rd Jan 2021.