In a far-reaching move, the national commission for backward classes has urged the Central government to raise the ‘creamy layer’ benchmark for OBCs from the present annual salary of Rs 6 lakh to Rs 10.50 lakh.
If the Centre accepts this recommendation from the panel to relax the salary bar for OBC reservations, it would bring more backward aspirants for central jobs and educational institutions in the reservation quota.
Further, the NCBC has suggested that qualifying standards be relaxed for OBCs to fill the 27 per cent seats as the backward representation in Central government jobs is well short of the target.
Though the suggestion is not binding, the recommendation on creamy layer would test the Modi government for a high income bar would be welcomed by the OBCs but would further upset the forward castes that are hostile to reservations.
A nearly Rs 1 lakh monthly salary for quota eligibility would be seen by upper castes as virtual abandoning of the “creamy layer” that is integral to the Supreme Court judgment that upheld the Mandal reservations.
The issue of creamy layer in OBC quota assumes importance ahead of assembly elections in Bihar as PM Narendra Modi has branded himself as an OBC politician. The ‘OBC parliamentary forum’ hailed Modi as the “first OBC PM” in a meeting last week. During the meeting, Union ministers Ram Kripal Yadav and Upendra Kushwaha had demanded raising of the income ceiling for creamy layer.
The NCBC has slammed the low income bar for not enough OBCs qualifying in Central jobs. “In spite of three revisions of income criteria, the 27% vacancies reserved for OBCs have not been filled up because of the elimination of OBCs having income above the prescribed income limit,” the Commission headed by Justice V Eswaraiah wrote to ministry of social justice recently.