Tamil nationalist party Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) will be holding an online demonstration at 7pm on Friday, July 10 opposing exclusion of ‘creamy layer’ Other Backward Classes (OBCs) from reservations. The demonstration will see participation of Tamil political leaders such as Thol Thirumavalan, D Ravikumar and Sinthanai Selvan from VCK, Dravidar Kazhagam president K Veeramani, and K Balakrishnan from Communist Party of India (CPI) (Marxist) and R Mutharasan from CPI.
This comes in response to media reports suggesting Narendra Modi-led central government’s plans to include salary component while counting income of an OBC household. A note released by the VCK says, “The Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi strongly condemns efforts by the Union Government to include new aspects such as salary as a component for calculating ‘Creamy Layer’ in OBC reservations. We demand that the Centre completely drop this sham of ‘Creamy Layer’. We also press upon the Union Government to introduce an amendment in the next Parliamentary session to that effect.”
Modi government had constituted a committee on 8 March 2019 under the chairpersonship of B P Sharma, former secretary of the department of personnel and training, which submitted its report on 17 September 2019. The report has not been made public yet.
Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar in a written reply in Rajya Sabha on 17 July 2019 said, “the Creamy Layer formula for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) employed with the State Governments, Central Government, Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and banks, for the purpose of their employment in Central Government jobs and admission to Central Government educational institutions is at present covered by the instructions of Department of Personnel and Training dated 08.09.1993 and 14.10.2004 and Department of Public Enterprises and the Department of Financial Services, vide Office Memorandum dated 25.10.2017 and 06.12.2017, respectively.”
According to the reply submitted by Gurjar, the mandate of the Sharma Committe was to “examine the issues related to Creamy layer equivalence among the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBCs).”
The current rules regarding creamy layer provision automatically exclude households of Group A public employees from availing OBC reservation. But the new rule, if it comes into force, will affect Group C and Group D employees too.
Union government had announced 27% reservations for OBCs in public employment in 1990 following Mandal Commission report. The exclusion of ‘creamy layer’ OBCs was directed by the Supreme Court in the Indra Sawhney vs Union of India (1992) judgement.
The full text of the note released by the VCK is as follows:
“The Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi strongly condemns efforts by the Union Government to include new aspects such as salary as a component for calculating “Creamy Layer” in OBC reservations. We demand that the Centre completely drop this sham of “Creamy Layer”. We also press upon the Union Government to introduce an amendment in the next Parliamentary session to that effect.
The Nine Judge Bench in the Mandal Commission Case in 1992, ruled that Other Backward Classes (OBCs) will be given 27% reservation. However, it also created an economic scale of limitation in order to keep away the benefits of reservation from those OBCs who were economically advanced, the so-called Creamy Layer. On that basis, it was decided that the children of those earning more than ₹1 lakh per annum would not be eligible to become beneficiaries of the reservation policy. It was also announced in the judgment that this ceiling will have to be revised once every three years. However, this ceiling was not increased at the appropriate times. Only after a 12 year gap, that is, only in 2004, the ceiling was increased, and that too, to ₹ 2.5 lakhs.
In 2008, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government increased that ceiling to ₹ 4.5 lakhs. Later, on 22 December 2012, we presented a letter to the (then) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, requesting him to lift the ceiling to ₹ 12 lakhs. On that basis, in May 2013, the Central Government issued an order increasing the creamy layer ceiling only to ₹6 lakhs, which was subsequently revised to ₹8 lakhs in 2017.
The ceiling for creamy layer is meant to be revised this year. The National Commission for OBC has recommended that a ceiling be raised to ₹16 lakhs at present. The Modi Government has not responded in any form to that recommendation, and has instead decided to make changes, such as including agricultural income and parental salary to calculate “Creamy Layer.” As a consequence, a majority of youngsters belonging to the OBCs will not be able to avail the reservation policy. This is nothing but a naked conspiracy to totally abolish the rights of OBCs to get reservations. This is social injustice, and we call upon the Union Government to immediately stop these measures.
Tomorrow, 10 July 2020, the VCK is organising an online demonstration at 7pm against this step of the Modi Government in which several leaders of opposition parties are going to take part.”