Debating India


Income limit for `creamy layer’ raised

Thursday 5 February 2004, by SUNDERARAJAN*P.

NEW DELHI, FEB. 4: The Centre today decided to more than double the income ceiling for determining the `creamy layer’ among the Other Backward Classes from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 2.5 lakhs a year. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet here this evening.

Announcing the decision, the government spokesperson said it was in line with the recommendations of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC). In addition, the Cabinet accepted the panel’s recommendation that it be entrusted with the task of periodic revision of the income criteria in future too, considering that it had the necessary expertise and experience in matters relating to OBCs.

The Chairperson of the NCBC, Justice Ram Surat Singh, had presented the recommendations to the Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Satyananarayan Jatiya, a week ago.

The panel had been asked in October last year to look into the issue of revising the income criteria following demands from a section of the OBCs to increase it, on the ground that the existing limit of Rs. 1 lakh was too low. In addition, it was asked to evolve a formula for periodic revision of the income criteria.

The income ceiling for determining the creamy layer among the OBCs follows a Supreme Court judgment in 1992. The apex court had, in its judgment in the Indra Sawhney and others versus Union of India case, upheld 27 per cent reservation for OBCs, subject to the exclusion of socially advanced persons and sections among them, which is popularly called the `creamy layer.’

The court also directed the Centre and the States to specify the basis for applying relevant and requisite socio-economic criteria to exclude the creamy layer from reservation.

Accordingly, the Department of Personnel and Training, on the recommendations of an expert committee headed by Justice Ram Nandan Prasad, issued an order on September 8, 1993, stipulating the rules for exclusion of the `creamy layer.’

The Cabinet also approved the signing of a framework agreement on a free trade area under BIMST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand Economic Cooperation).

The pact seeks to promote trade and economic cooperation among the member countries of the grouping.

In addition, the Cabinet approved the signing of treaties with Thailand and South Korea for mutual legal assistance in the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of criminal activities and an agreement with Armenia for promotion of bilateral investments.

See online : The Hindu

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