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Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) Quota: Committee Recommendations on Determining EWS

EWS Quota- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

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Economically Weaker Sections (EWS Quota)- Context

  • Recently, the Central Government has told the Supreme Court that it has decided to accept the recommendation of a three-member panel on Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) Quota.

103rd Constitutional Amendment Act: Revisiting Income Criterion for EWS Quota


EWS Quota Committee- Key Points

  • About: The Centre had constituted the three-member committee in November last year according to an assurance given to the top court to revisit the criteria for determining EWS.
  • Members: The committee had three members comprising-
    1. Ajay Bhushan Pandey, former finance secretary,
    2. VK Malhotra, member secretary, ICSSR, and
    3. Sanjeev Sanyal, Principal Economic Adviser to Centre,
  • Key Recommendation: The thee member Panel recommendations say that family income is a “feasible criterion” for defining EWS and in the current situation.


EWS Quota Criteria- Key Recommendations of the Panel

  • Income Criteria: EWS Quota Panel recommended retaining the current gross annual family income limit for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of Rs 8 lakh or less. The panel said that-
    • Only those families whose annual income is up to Rs 8 lakh would be eligible to get the benefit of an EWS reservation.
    • The current limit of annual family income of Rs 8 lakhs does not seem to be over-inclusive as the available data on actual outcomes does not indicate over-inclusion.
      • It should be noted that income includes salary and agriculture as well
    • The income criterion for EWS was “more stringent” than the one for the OBC creamy layer.
  • Agricultural Land: The panel recommended that EWS, may exclude, irrespective of income, a person whose family has five acres of agricultural land and above.
  • Removal of residential Criteria: The panel recommended that the residential asset criteria may altogether be removed for defining Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).
  • Continuation of existing system: EWS Quota panel suggested continuation of the existing system this year as well that is being used since 2019.
    • The panel said that sudden adoption of new criteria on the committee report would delay and have cascading effects on the admissions.
  • Use of Technology: The panel recommended that data exchange and information technology should be used more actively to verify income and assets for EWS Quota.
  • Feedback Mechanism: It is also recommended that a three-year feedback loop cycle may be used to monitor the actual outcomes of these criteria and then be used to adjust them in the future.



103rd Constitutional Amendment Act: Revisiting Income Criterion for EWS Quota


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