The Centre is set to take a call on raising the income ceiling for availing reservation benefits under the Other Backward Class (OBC) category once the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls end.
Currently, a 27-per cent quota in government jobs and seats in educational institutes is given to the OBCs, provided the annual family income is up to Rs 6 lakh, beyond which falls under the "creamy layer".
According to sources, the decision on raising the income ceiling from Rs 6 lakh to Rs 8 lakh will be taken after the polling process concludes in Uttar Pradesh, a state with a substantial OBC population.
The Union Social Justice Ministry has already sent a proposal to the Prime Minister's office and a cabinet note has also been drafted in this regard. The Centre may have to bring a bill to effect the changes in the income ceiling for OBC reservations once the matter is cleared by the Cabinet.
Raising the annual income ceiling of OBC families would result in a larger pool of candidates being eligible for government jobs and seats in educational institutes as per the reservation policy of the government.
The National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) had recommended for more than doubling the current income ceiling to Rs 15 lakh. NCBC Member Ashok Saini had said even after two decades since reservation was introduced, out of the 27 per cent quota for OBCs, only 12-15 per cent got utilised, and the major reason behind this was the annual income ceiling.
In 2015, the OBC Commission had recommended that the OBC "creamy layer" limit be increased for families with a Rs 6lakh annual income to Rs 15 lakh. Prior to that, in 2013, the creamy layer cap was raised from Rs 4.5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh. The income criterion was kept at Rs 1 lakh per annum in1993 and revised to Rs 2.5 lakh in 2004. It was subsequently raised to Rs 4.5 lakh in 2008 and Rs 6 lakh in 2013.