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Modi govt had no plans to give special benefits to upper caste poor in UPSC or SSC exams

EWS candidates hoped benefits such as age relaxation & exemption on number of attempts, applicable to SC, ST and OBC candidates, would be available to them.

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New Delhi: The Modi government consciously decided not to give any special benefits under the new 10 per cent quota for upper castes, a top government official said, responding to demands from job seekers for relaxation in the age criterion and number of attempts, among other things.

Such exemptions are granted to the beneficiaries of quotas for the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), but the Narendra Modi government deems them redundant for the general-category poor, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) official told ThePrint.

“Sufficient representation can be achieved through reservation alone… The need for alternative measures like additional attempts or age relaxation arises only when the main goal of reservation is not achieved through quota,” the DoPT official said.

“Till we don’t face that problem, there is no question of adding these extra provisions,” the official said. “Even for other groups like the SCs, STs, additional benefits were added later.”

Also read: Cabinet approves 10% quota in education, jobs for economically weaker in general category

Since the reservation policy was announced by the Modi government in January, three major recruitment bodies of the government — the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), Staff Selection Commission (SSC) and the Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) —  have issued advertisements for vacancies.

While all of the bodies have included the economically weaker sections (EWS) quota, none has given any additional benefits to eligible candidates, causing widespread dismay among aspirants, many of whom have termed the current form of the policy “EWS jumla” on social media.

In a recent interview, Social Justice Minister Thawarchand Gehlot suggested the benefits would be introduced “soon”, triggering confusion.

“The government will implement the benefits of EWS reservation soon. The social justice department has sent a communication to all stakeholders to give benefits of upper age limit, cut-off, and others to EWS category,” he was quoted as saying in The Indian Express.

However, sources in the DoPT, the nodal authority for the UPSC and the SSC, and the Railway Recruitment Board told ThePrint that no such confirmation had been received by them so far.

Approached by ThePrint for comment, Gehlot did not respond despite several attempts. This report will be updated when responds. Meanwhile, no fresh announcement on this front is likely with the Model Code of Conduct now in force for the Lok Sabha election.

Also read: UPSC has a plan for new 10% quota in civil services, and it’s anything but smooth

Confusion prevails

The Modi government’s 10 per cent quota for the EWS category in government jobs and education was seen as a masterstroke in the run-up to the general elections.

The quota applies to households with a combined annual income of less than Rs 8 lakh, those who hold agricultural land less than five acres, whose houses are under 1,000 square feet, and who own land not exceeding 100 yards in municipal areas, and 200 yards in non-municipal areas.

However, the maiden run of the quota has been marred by confusion among aspirants, especially over the fact that they are yet to receive the income and asset certificates required to avail of the quota.

The certificates are to be issued by the state governments.

“The EWS reservation is rolled out already. Now, to take benefit of it, one needs to have an income and assets certificate,” said a civil service aspirant who did not want to be named.

“But the situation right now is that no officer in the country is issuing them, saying they don’t have orders from the top,” the aspirant added.

“It’s not just the UPSC… many other recruitments where deserving aspirants are looking for the certificate are not able to fill the form with the EWS category as the [state] administration is not being helpful,” the aspirant added.

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