New Delhi: In an apparent attempt to woo Other Backward Class (OBC) voters in election-bound Bihar, the Centre has, in principle, decided to raise the income ceiling for availing reservation benefits.
OBCs are eligible for 27 per cent reservation in higher educational institutions and public sector employment if they do not come under the creamy layer.
Creamy layer is a concept that puts an income ceiling on people availing caste-wise reservations. The current income ceiling is Rs 8 lakh. This means OBCs whose gross annual income is below Rs 8 lakh are eligible for reservation.
Now, the government has decided to raise the ceiling.
It has set up a group of ministers, headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, to revise the cap. Home Minister Amit Shah, Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Social Justice Thaawar Chand Gehlot and Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan are the members of the panel.
The ceiling was raised a couple of times in the past.
In 2013, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance had raised the cap from Rs 4.5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh. In 2017, BJP-led National Democratic Alliance raised it to Rs 8 lakh.
The minister's panel will also look into whether the creamy layer criteria should be different in rural and urban areas.
Eye on Bihar election
Political analysts said the move was aimed at wooing OBCs in Bihar, who constitute 41% of the population.
BJP has been depended upon Yadav leader Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United and Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party to take on main opponent RJD’s Muslim-Yadav bulwark.