After 26 yrs, panel to review OBC ‘creamy layer’ criteria

The Times of India: 18.03.2019

NEW DELHI: In a move that has raised anxiety levels among interested groups, the Centre has constituted an expert committee to “revisit the criteria” for determining the “creamy layer” for OBCs which was laid down in 1993. It has argued that the review was required to “simplify and streamline” the norms in view of “issues” arising from their implementation.

“Creamy layer” is the section of OBCs that is economically advanced and ineligible for Mandal reservations in jobs and education. Following the Supreme Court’s judgment on Mandal Commission, the exclusion norms for “creamy layer” were laid down by the DoPT’s office memorandum of 1993 based on the report of the Prasad committee.

Now, after 26 years, ministry of social justice, on March 8, set up a panel headed by retired GOI secretary BP Sharma, with “terms of reference” which sound radical in their breadth and scope.

The committee will “revisit the criteria evolved by the Prasad committee” and give recommendations for “redefining, simplifying and streamlining the concept of creamy layer” while keeping in view the SC’s observations in Indira Sawhney case.

The backdrop for the review is the controversy arising from the DoPT’s application of different “wealth test” yardsticks – inclusion of “salaries” in family income – for OBCs with parents employed in central and state governments, and those with parents in PSUs.

Stop any type of reservation which is based on caste, religion, color, height, weight……. it creates communal division, and fukat khaoo people who donot want to do any work.Som Patil

At the core of the problem is that posts in PSUs have not been identified as Group A/B/C/D like in government, creating confusion. While the Sharma committee has also been asked to recommend on “equivalence” for PSUs, especially for those in states, the revisiting of the criteria evolved by the Prasad committee of 1993 has triggered concerns among activists for backward rights.

The question being asked is why has the Centre constituted an expert committee on the issue of “creamy layer” when it created a National Commission for Backward Classes with “constitutional status” with wide-ranging powers. The NCBC, which comprises BJP members, is empowered to suggest measures for effective implementation of safeguards available to the OBCs. The committee has been asked to submit report in 15 days.

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