New Delhi: The Modi government has finally cleared the air on whether upper caste candidates eligible for the 10 per cent reservation under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category would get an age relaxation or additional attempts in government jobs and educational institutions.
In a letter written to Social Justice Minister Thawarchand Gehlot last week, the Minister of State (MoS) in the PMO, Jitendra Singh, has said that the government does not intend to provide age relaxation to the EWS category.
In the letter, Singh has said that age relaxation is given to a group if it fails to compete with other categories or groups despite the reservation.
“It was also found that in the past, the question of age relaxation has been decided only after observing the impact of reservation policy, whether the required number of persons from that particular category are getting inducted in the services/posts reserved for them or not,” his letter says.
Ever since the Modi government announced the quota for the EWS category in January this year, there have been widespread demands from job seekers for relaxation in the age criterion and number of attempts, among other things. The social justice minister in the Modi government too has thrown his weight behind these demands.
Gehlot had written to Singh last month asking for age relaxation for this category. ThePrint had at the time reported that the government is unlikely to heed the demands since it believes that age relaxation and other age benefits should be granted to a reserved category if the quota by itself fails to ensure adequate representation for the community.
Singh has now formally communicated that to Gehlot.
‘Age relaxation when quota alone doesn’t ensure representation’
“The SC/ST community had reservation before independence but were given other benefits only in 1952… Similarly, the OBC community too got reservation in 1993, and got age relaxation only in 1995,” said a government official, elaborating on the DoPT’s stand.
“This was done only after it was established that reservation alone could not help these groups get representation…For the EWS community, that is unlikely,” the source said.
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 Lok Sabha 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.