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Quota for economically weak: no clarity on who will benefit

ABDUL WAHAB KHAN | NT

Panaji: Though the state cabinet has cleared ten per cent reservation for the economically weaker sections (EWS) of the general category in education and government jobs, there is, however, no clarity on the eligible beneficiaries.

According to the office memorandum issued by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension, every state has to draw up its own action plan to define documents required to prove backwardness and frame a mechanism for the quota implementation.

However, no guidelines or notification has yet been issued by the state government listing the documents and procedures to be followed for verifying the income and landholding details to determine the EWS status of the beneficiary.

An official said that it will not be easy for the state government to deal with a large number of applicants and opined that the government has to devise a verification process cautiously to filter out the ineligible candidates. It also appears that the state government has not conducted any study to justify reservation to the economically weak in general category with data about its share in the population and in jobs and education.

Officials in the government agencies who are responsible for monitoring the reservation have ruled out such surveys but rely on the soon-to-be-framed procedures to issue income and asset certificate to the general category candidates seeking reservation under the quota for the economically weaker sections. The officials were of the opinion that even if such a survey is conducted, the truth will never be revealed on actual income and landholdings by the households.

“The officer who issues the certificate would do the same after carefully verifying all relevant documents following the due process as prescribed by the state/UTs,” said the notification issued by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.

A candidate from the general category must fulfil five conditions relating to annual family income and landholding. The candidate will also have to obtain an income and asset certificate from an officer not below the rank of mamlatdar of the concerned taluka. 

According to the criteria, only those households or candidates whose annual family income is less than Rs 8 lakh in the preceding financial year and who owns less than five acres of agricultural land will be eligible for the proposed reservation for the economically weaker upper castes. The total income would include salary, income from agriculture, business, profession and other sources. A candidate’s parents, spouse, siblings and children below the age of 18 years come under the definition of family. There is no clarity on whether parents’ share needs to be included to determine EWS status if the candidate is living separately with spouse and children.

Since Goa does not have official income data, it is difficult to come out with the exact number of such households. However, an official claimed that seeking PAN details or the income tax returns (ITR) data for Assessment Year (AY) 2017-18 can be used to estimate the share of such households.

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