The Centre has said it is not considering a revision of the income cut-off for the identification of the non-creamy layer among the Other Backward Classes, who are entitled to 27 per cent reservation in government jobs and higher education.
Several OBC parliamentarians and groups representing the community have demanded a revision of the current cut-off — an annual parental income of Rs 8 lakh from sources other than salary and agriculture.
In a written reply, minister of state for social justice Pratima Bhoumik told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday: “At present, there is no proposal for revision of OBC non-creamy layer limit.”
A Rajya Sabha member from the YSR Congress Party, V. Vijaysai Reddy, had said in the Rajya Sabha on Monday that the delay in revising the cut-off had hurt many OBCs who are deserving of reservation benefits.
A government committee had in 1993 suggested that anyone who holds a constitutional post or was elevated to a Class A post before the age of 40 belonged to the creamy layer. For the rest, those who earned more than a certain amount would be treated as part of the creamy layer.
The income ceiling was Rs 1 lakh in 1996 and was revised to Rs 2.5 lakh in March 2004, to Rs 4.5 lakh in October 2008, to Rs 6 lakh in May 2013 and to Rs 8 lakh in September 2017. The committee had recommended a revision of the ceiling every three years.
“The enhancement is done to adjust for inflation once every three years. However, the existing limit for creamy layer has not been revised for the last six years,” Reddy told the Rajya Sabha.
“During this time, the inflation increased manifold. Applying the three-year formula, the revision for creamy layer formula is twice overdue till now.”
Asserting that the “delay” had “denied reservations to many needy and deserving” OBCs, he said: “There is an urgent need to revise the income criteria.”
The social justice ministry had moved a proposal in 2020 to increase the cut-off from Rs 8 lakh to Rs 12 lakh while including the salary in the calculations. However, OBC groups opposed the inclusion of salary earnings in the creamy layer calculations.
“I strongly urge the government to revise the creamy layer limit and ensure that the three-year revision is adhered to. This will ensure true social justice for the OBCs,” Reddy said.