Relaxation plan for EWS quota
The NDA government is planning to offer relaxations in age and other eligibility criteria in government jobs and education to those categorised under the new quota for economically weaker sections among the upper castes.
The benefits are to be on a par with those offered to other deprived sections, sources said.
Officials in the department of personnel and training said on Friday that the government was “positively considering” extending the relaxations to the EWS candidates. Such a demand has been raised in several quarters, including BJP leaders.
The ministry of social justice and empowerment, which piloted the amendment bill on 10 per cent reservation for the EWS category, has already consulted the DoPT for its opinion.
The DoPT official said that although non-creamy layer Other Backward Classes (OBCs) were given 27 per cent reservation in 1993, they did not get relaxations in age and educational qualifications immediately.
“The EWS quota came into effect in January 2019. The relaxation can be given now since one year has passed,” the official said.
The relaxations for the EWS beneficiaries are likely to be similar to those offered to the OBCs, officials said.
Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates get more relaxations than OBCs. For example, candidates in the general category are allowed to appear in the civil services examinations six times, subject to an upper age limit of 32 years, while OBC candidates get nine attempts and an age ceiling of 35 years. SC-ST candidates get a five-year relaxation in age limit and can appear as many times as they want before that.
Former chief justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court, Justice V. Eswaraiah, said relaxations in age and qualifications would help the privileged castes to fill up all available seats in the EWS category, while no such urgency was being shown for the OBCs.
“There were some seats lying vacant for lack of meritorious candidates in the EWS category. If relaxation is given, all the seats will be filled up by the privileged castes. This is being done to keep the privileged castes happy. But the OBCs are not getting their dues and nothing is being done for them,” Justice Eswaraiah said.
He said OBCs were not getting the benefits of reservation in undergraduate and postgraduate courses in medicine. Justice Eswaraiah filed PILs in the Supreme Court on the issue in July 2019. The matter is yet to come up for hearing.
Ashok Bharati, the president of the All India Ambedkar Mahasabha, an organisation working for the rights of SCs, STs and OBCs, questioned the rationale of the EWS quota since two-thirds of posts in the government are held by the privileged castes.
“Despite (a total) reservation of 49.5 per cent for SCs, STs and OBCs, they occupy only one-third of the posts. The privileged castes always take care of their own interest,” Bharati said.
The BJP leader in the Rajya Sabha, G.V.L. Narasimha Rao, on Friday raised the demand for relaxations in age and educational qualifications for EWS candidates.
“A lot of children belonging to unreserved classes and who were born in poverty, these children either delay their education due to economic reasons or they sometimes have to break their education because of poverty and economic difficulties. My appeal to the government is to extend the age-relaxation facility to children from upper castes who are eligible for the 10 per cent EWS reservation,” Rao said.
Courtesy : The Telegraph