The Narendra Modi government has recently proposed to increase the income ceiling for determining the creamy layer category of OBCs from the current Rs 8 lakh to Rs 12 lakh. It has also proposed including a person’s salary as part of the gross annual household income while deciding if members of the family are eligible for quota benefits.
Rashtriya OBC Mahasangh , a Nagpur-based OBC organization headed by Dr. Baban Taywade has written an open letter to PM Narendra Modi on redefining the creamy layer concept. The letter calls to reject the B.P Sharma Committee Report which was appointed by central government for revision of creamy layer concept for Other Backward Classes ( OBC) for the purpose of availing reservation.
The letter describes the move of the government to include salary and agricultural income to determine the creamy layer among OBCs as unjustifiable and absurd. The letter accused that the recommendation is done with the malafide intention to deprive OBC community of their fundamental rights for social, educational and economic development.
The letter also accuses that National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) was coerced into accepting the recommendation of the committee unwillingly as the goverment is very keen to implement the recommendation. The organization raised 11 questions addressing PM Narendra Modi.
Questions raised by the organization
1.Why was NCBC which is a constitutional body not assigned with the important task of redefining, simplifying and streamlining the concept of creamy layer?
2. What were the intentions of forming a separate expert committee with only 1 member of the OBC Community?
3. Why did the lone member of the OBC Community in the expert committee relieve himself in the very initial stages? Why did not the government take cognizance of this and take corrective action?
4. Can financial status be the criterion to define social , educational advancement? Why has not the said committee deliberated on this issue?
5. Why till date has your government refused to release the socio-economic caste census data which is necessary for the real understanding of the situation of OBC’S?
6. Why is your government without such data contemplating to accept the unjustified, malafide and absurd recommendation of the expert committee which will further reduce the number of prospective OBC candidates for government jobs and seats in educational institutions?
7. Why is the government so keen to accept the unjustified,malafide and absurd recommendation of the expert committee, overriding the constitutional provision, as Article 16 (4) states that the underrepresented should be one of the primary criteria for giving reservations?
8. Given that your government has on several occasions informed the parliament that the OBC quota has not been implemented in full, why is your government so keen to accept the recommendations of the committee which will only lead to further reduction in government jobs and seats in educational institutes for the OBC? Why such double standards?
9. Why were the recommendations of NCBC and Parliamentary committee on creamy layer issues ignored?
10.Why does not thge government form a committee to look into the over-representation of a few communities to bring parity across the social spectrum of the country?
11. Why is your government so keen to accept this recommendation, but not to accept the long-pending demand of the OBC community to conduct an OBC census throughout the country?
Based on these questions, the organisation accuses that the current goverment headed by PM Narendra Modi aims to appease its core vote bank i.e. the upper caste savarnas and thus to create fissures and disturb the social fabric of the OBC community in particular and the country in general. It also criticized the move saying that the sinister design of the government was to deprive any opportunity for potential candidates from OBC community to take up high positions in the governance of the country and to become successful professionals in the society.
Meanwhile some reports say that the Parliamentary Committee on Welfare of Other Backward Classes (OBCs), headed by four-term BJP MP Ganesh Singh, has recommended that an individual’s salary should not be included while calculating the annual household income that decides eligibility of family members for reservation benefits. The committee, which met Tuesday, also recommended increasing the annual income ceiling for creamy layer category of the OBCs from the current Rs 8 lakh to Rs 15 lakh according to the report. The report also says that the committee has submitted its recommendation to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.
The Prime Minister’s Office has asked an informal group of ministers (GoM), headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, to deliberate on the proposal again, says the report. The proposal of B.P Sharma Committee has reportedly been put on the backburner now, fearing a backlash in the run-up to the assembly elections in Bihar scheduled to be held later this year.