A majority of the States that the National Commission for Economically Backward Classes visited in the last few months are reluctant to earmark a separate quota for the poorer sections among the forward castes.

Commission chairman Major-General (retd.) S.R. Sinho said at a press conference here on Wednesday that most States were keen on providing welfare and developmental measures for the EBCs. “Barring Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the States maintained that they have already crossed the 50 per cent quota of reservations,” he added.

The chairman and commission members Narendra Kumar and Mahendra Singh, who came on a two-day visit to the State on Monday, called on Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and Governor N.D. Tiwari and interacted with senior government officials and NGOs to elicit their views on the criteria for identification of EBCs and recommend welfare measures and the quantum of reservations.

Mr. Sinho said a majority of the States felt that if at all a quota was to be fixed for EBCs, it should be done on the basis of the income and economic backwardness of individuals and not the community. He explained that that the commission was mandated to consult State governments, Union Territories, district administrations and field functionaries on the issue of providing reservation and welfare measures. He clarified that the issue of considering quota for the EBCs would not affect the existing reservations available for the SC/ST and OBCs.

The chairman said the team covered 22 States and would visit the remaining States before November. Asked about the tentative time for submission of the report, he said it would be done some time in March.

The Commission commended the Andhra Pradesh government for introducing fee reimbursement for the EBCs students and also for initiating several welfare programmes. Mr. Sinho said the panel might include some of the innovative programmes of the government in its report.