IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

EWS Quota

2nd December, 2021 Society

Figure 4: No Copyright Infringement Intended


  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment appointed a three-member committee to revisit the criteria for 10% reservation for economically weaker sections (EWS) in educational institutions and government jobs.

Need of the Committee:

  • The Supreme Court has observed that the the Centre cannot “pull out of thin air” the ₹8 lakh annual income limit to identify economically weaker section for providing 10% quota .
  • It questioned if the attempt was to “make unequals as equals”.
  • The apex court is hearing petitions challenging the government notice issued in July which provides for 10% EWS quota in NEET admissions.


About EWS Quota:

  • The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act provides for 10% reservation in government jobs and
  • educational institutions for the economically weaker section in the unreserved category.
  • The Act amends Article 15 and 16 to provide for reservation based on economic backwardness.

More about EWS quota:

  • It is in addition to 50% reservation already provided to SC, ST and OBC communities.
  • Declaration of EWS is based on fulfilling of following criteria:
    • Income should be less than 8 Lakh per annum.
    • One should not have more than 5 acre farm land.
    • Home size should be less than 1000 sq. feet.

Positives of EWS reservation:

  • It provides legitimacy to already existing reservation. Now, universities won’t be segregated between merit candidates and reserved communities.
  • It is secular in nature and includes all religions: Muslims, Christians
  • Economic justice is the philosophy behind it. In an increasing economic society, class becomes a tool of oppression.
  • It address contemporary reservation movements like Jats reservation, Patel reservation.
  • 8 Lakh is creamy layer identified in OBC reservation. Hence, 8 Lakh is justified as a basis of class criteria.

Concerns/drawbacks of EWS reservation:

  • It violates Indira Swahney judgement of Supreme court which applied 50% cap on the reservation.
  • Social justice has been the philosophy behind reservation. Upper caste are at the top of caste pyramid and doesn’t require any reservation.
  • It is not based on any scientific data. A survey of 450 educational institutions had found 28% students belonging to EWS section.
  • The criteria qualifies around 90-95% population.
  • The reservation doesn’t make any sense when jobs are on the rise in private sector. Public sector is already declining and not creating many jobs.
  • This reservation move can be abused by changing the economic status by selling property or showing lower income.


  • Administration must ensure that non-deserving population doesn’t get the EWS certificate.
  • Genuine poor and needy section should get the opportunity.