A few days back, the honorable Supreme Court questioned the government about the procedure of fixing ₹8 lakh as the annual income limit for eligibility of EWS Quota. Let us understand all the terms related to it step by step.
What is the EWS Quota System?
The EWS Quota stands for Economically Weaker Section Quota. It is liberalities and reservations provided by the government to the economically weaker sections of the society.
How can the government make laws for the economically weaker sections of society?
Article 15 and Article 16 empowers the government to make laws for economically backward classes.
Article 15-16 (6)
The six clauses of articles 15-16 enables the state to make provision and reservation for the weaker sections of the society. Any such reservation should not exceed more than 10%.
What are the Economical Weaker Sections of the society?
The Economic weaker section class is distinct from existing Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and Socially backward classes.
The government must decide the income limit for the classification of economically weaker sections at regular intervals.
Currently, the government has fixed ₹ 8 lakh as the annual income limit. People who have an annual income of less than ₹8 lakhs come under the Economic Weaker Sections.
Features of the EWS Quota
Following are the specifications of the EWS quota system.
The 103rd Constitution Amendment Act, 2019 empowers the government to make 10% (as maximum) reservation in institutes and other job sectors for Economic Backward Sections.
This process is also known as economic reservation.
The feature was implemented for the welfare of the poor who are not covered in the reservation policy of Scheduled Castes (SCs), scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and (SEBC).
Both the state as well as the central government can take measures under this quota system.
Significance of the EWS Quota
According to the government of India, the Economical Weaker Sections quota has the following advantages:
Promote Equality: Many economically weaker sectors cannot attend higher education and better job opportunities because of lower family income. EWS Quota opens better opportunities to economically privileged sectors of society.
Diminishes the Discrimination Based on Caste: As the EWS quota is applicable to all categories of society, it reduces the discrimination gap based on castes such as SC, ST, and OBCs.
Recognize Economic Backward Classes: The amendment helps in recognizing the economically backward classes of India.
Why did the Supreme Court raise the issue?
If EWS is such a beneficiary step, then why has the honorable Supreme Court raised the question related to it? The following reasons are why the Supreme Court has questioned the Union Government about the criteria of the EWS quota.
Unscaled Criteria: The decided amount of ₹8 lakhs p.a. as an income limit is not based on any data. There is no such data available in the system telling how much less is not sufficient.
GDP per Capita Concern: Also, the Supreme Court has concerned the government not to take GDP per capita for every state into consideration while deciding the monetary limit for EWS reservation.
Breaches the Reservation Limit: The EWS quota breaches the limit fixed by the bench in the Indira Sawhney case.
A Way Forward
The quota for the economically weaker section is a significant step only when it is implemented as a process and after research. For example, ₹8 lakhs per annum is not sufficient for a family of six, but the same amount works well for a family of two. Hence, the government of India should keep in mind such criteria while setting a monetary limit for any purpose. Also, the states with low income per capita require less money for a year than the region where income capita is far higher. The government of India mentioned that the people of economically weaker sections could not pursue higher education. However, the records and statistics show equal participation of economically sufficient and weaker sections in the higher education programs. Providing EWS liberation in job opportunities could give an eligible candidate an important status, like doctors, civil servants, etc. Rather than creating inequality among the public for the sake of votes and seats. The Indian government should try to strengthen its education and employment policies. The government of India should work on the educational institutions and universities of India. Government should focus on creating more skilled employment opportunities rather than creating a reservation barrier among two same skilled labor.
Once the government realizes the value of skill over reservation and vote bank, India will be a better country.