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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Keep MPs, MLAs out of OBC creamy layer

A parliamentary panel on OBC welfare has taken exception to the proposal that elected representatives be included in the "creamy layer" ineligible for Mandal reservations in central jobs and educational institutions. 

It also demanded that the income ceiling to weed out the "creamy layer" from quota benefits be raised to Rs 20 lakh annually. The present ceiling stands at Rs 6 lakh, while a hike has been proposed to Rs 10.5 lakh. 

The twin demands reflect the unease of backward politicians over the recommendations of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) to the Centre for the periodic review of "creamy layer". 

In a first, the 'parliamentary committee on welfare of OBCs' recently took up the NCBC report for a thorough discussion and expressed dissatisfaction with its proposals. It is reliably learnt that it has asked the NCBC to withdraw and reconsider the report (which TOI reported exclusively in a series of articles in May). 

According to sources, the discussion was stormy as members argued that the stringent restrictions of "creamy layer" were responsible for the OBC presence in government being less than half of the 27% quota in operation for over two decades. 

The tug of war revolves around the NCBC's radical suggestion that past and present MPs and MLAs should not be eligible for reservation, arguing that election to "high offices" like legislatures showed that the said individual had achieved "social elevation" to fall in the "creamy layer". 

The NCBC has also proposed that wards of a 'Class I' officer in state/Centre be excluded from reservation benefits, irrespective of the officer being a "direct recruit" or a "promotee". Presently, only "direct recruits" fall in the "creamy layer". 

At the meeting, the members of the OBC parliamentary panel questioned how elected representatives could be put in the "creamy layer" when not all of them were educated or rich, and were elected for a short term. 

Citing the low figures of OBC workforce in the government, the MPs lamented that it had not reached even half of 27%. 

In this context, the panel members argued the NCBC's suggested income bar of Rs 10.5 lakh was restrictive as it would keep out a big chunk of backwards from availing quota. The red flag is significant since the present income bar stands at Rs 6 lakh. 

According to them, the leap in education costs makes the present and the proposed income ceiling incongruous with the competitiveness expected from OBCs to avail quotas. "The income for creamy layer should be Rs 20 lakh annually," the panel said.

Source:-The Times of India

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