People belonging to Other Backward Classes (OBC) communities in the State list but not in the Central list will be eligible to apply for posts and services of the Government of India under the EWS quota criteria, provided they fulfill all other requirements, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has said in a list of FAQs it has put out on how to recruit under the 10% reservation provided for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).
The DoPT issued the list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and the answers to them after it received several references from ministries, departments and individuals with regards to the criteria to qualify for the EWS quota.
This comes at a time a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court is hearing a batch of petitions challenging the constitutionality of the EWS quota and has repeatedly voiced concerns of the EWS quota eating into the 50% for the unreserved category — meant to be open for all irrespective of their caste, creed, or religion.
In addition to this, the DoPT, in the list of FAQs issued to States and Union Territories last week, added that members of the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes will not be eligible to apply for Central government positions irrespective of where they reside (even if the State of residence does not recognise their community as an SC or ST).
Further, the DoPT has clarified that unfilled EWS vacancies for a particular recruitment year cannot be carried over to the next and that successive attempts to fill these vacancies with EWS candidates should be made. “Thereafter, the unfilled vacancies may be filled up, treating them as unreserved provided it does not result in excess representation in the general category beyond the number added on account of non-availability of EWS candidate. If it results in excess representations, it may be diverted to the category in which shortfall exists,” the DoPT said.
In addition to these, the DoPT has said the original Office Memorandum (OM) for EWS recruitment (issued on 31.1.2019) excluded commercial property among the criteria for exclusion from the EWS category, which it now said would “result in injustice”, adding, “the definition of residential flat/plot in the OM also includes the commercial property”.
Moreover, the DoPT clarified that in cases where the residential plot of a candidate is divided between an area in a notified municipality and an area not in a notified municipality, the criteria for exclusion should be applied to each of the areas independently. Currently, the criteria for exclusion with regards to property irrespective of family income are if the candidate or their family owns 5 acres of agricultural land and above; residential flat of 1000 sq ft. and above; residential plot of 100 sq. yards and above in notified municipalities; residential plot of 200 sq. yards and above in areas other than the notified municipalities.
The DoPT also clarified that “family” as defined for qualification of the EWS criteria will not include grandparents, or any siblings or children above the age of 18.
The FAQs also specified that a family’s earnings from monthly pension payouts and all other sources like salary, agriculture, business, profession, etc. for the financial year prior to the year of application will be counted as the family’s income. It added that in all cases, only the gross income/earnings will be counted to check for the exclusion criteria.
Under the EWS criteria, apart from asset holding test, persons whose family has gross annual income below ₹8 Iakh are to be identified as EWSs for the benefit of reservation.
The DoPT’s list of clarifications on recruiting for the EWS quota added that in case any of the recent clarifications contradicted the regulations prescribed in the OM dated 31.9.2019, then the earlier one will prevail. “The clarification contained in this FAQs shall be effective from the date of issue of this OM and it will not be applicable to the cases settled before the date of issue of this OM. Further the clarifications are subject to outcome of different cases pending before various courts on the subject,” the DoPT added.