States demand 50 pc raise in income ceiling for creamy layer

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New Delhi, Jun 11 (UNI) Almost all the state commissions for backward classes today demanded doubling of the income ceiling for the purpose of identifying and excluding advanced classes or the 'creamy layer' from the benefit of reservation for OBCs.

''There is a general agreement that the ceiling should be raised from the present Rs 2.5 lakh to between Rs four to Rs six lakh,'' Chairman of the National Commission for Backward Classes(NCBC) Justice S R Pandian told reporters here after a meeting with chairpersons of the state commissions.

The NCBC had convened the meeting to elicit their views on the issue, as the Centre wants a redefinition of the creamy layer, the demand for which has been raised from various quarters.

''We will take the views of the state commissions and the current realities besides more data into account to arrive at a final view to make recommendations to the Centre on the issue of creamy layer,'' he said.

While states like Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh wanted the ceiling to be raised to Rs 10 lakh, other states like Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh wanted it to be around Rs Five Lakh.

Chairperson of the state's commission for backward classes from Karnataka Dr C S Dwarakanath, Uttar Pradesh commission chairperson Parasnath Maurya, and MP commission head Babulal Kushwaha said the demand for the raise in the ceiling was quite justified in view of the fact that the cost of living had gone up sharply. Moreover, they said the cost of education was slowly going beyond the reach of the weaker and lower middle classes.

Member of the NCBC Abdul Ali Azizi while addressing the state chairperson advocated the Karnataka model of reservation to be adopted by other states.

Chairpersons of some states like Maharashtra and Gujarat and Tamil Nadu failed to attend the meeting.

The Commission had last month brought out a public notice to invite public views on what the revised limits should be. It has to give its final views on the matter by the month end.

The Supreme Court, while upholding the 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in higher educational institutions had recently asked the government to exclude the creamy layer, following which demands were made from several political parties and other organisations to increase the income limit for excluding the advanced classes among the OBCs from the benefit of reservation.

Even before the SC judgement came on the contentious issue in March, the government had entrusted the job of revising the creamy layer to the NCBC.

The decision of the Human Resource Development Ministry in 2006 to extend 27 per cent reservation to OBCs in institutions of higher learning like the IITS and IIMs had evoked countrywide protests from some quarters, following which the Centre had appointed an oversight committee on implementation of quota in these institutions.

The committee headed by Mr Veerappa Moily, suggested an increase in the general seats so as not to harm the prospects of general category candidates.

After the Moily Committee Report, Parliament passed a legislation for extending the reservation which became an Act on January 1, 2007.

However, the Act was immediately challenged in court, which stayed its operation. In March this year, Supreme Court in its final judgement upheld the Act, but said the creamy layer should be excluded from the benefit.

While some were expecting the government to file a review petition, it chose to go in for a redefinition of the creamy layer instead, which was demanded from various other quarters.

The existing ceiling is at Rs 2.5 lakh per year. However, a number of political leaders and OBC representatives feel that the cut-off slab was not realistic in view of the sharp increase in the cost of living in recent years.

UNI NAZ BDP AS1833

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