Congress aims to seek votes on Rajasthan model of EWS reservation category

In a bid to gain support from unreserved communities in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the Congress party has decided to take up the issue of relaxation in the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) reservation during the poll campaign.

Former Rajasthan minister and party’s Lok Sabha candidate for the Jaipur Lok Sabha seat, Pratap Singh Khachariyawas, has demanded that the Centre should relax the eligibility conditions for reservation to EWS as the Ashok Gehlot-led government had done in Rajasthan.

“I want to ask why the Central government is ignoring the demands for EWS relaxation. We demand equal rights for those who are economically weaker in the unreserved category. The Congress’ Gahlot government in Rajasthan had given relaxation to the youth who are in EWS to give them equal opportunity by removing the clause of Rs 8 lakh annual income and also in land and age clauses,” Khachariyawas said while speaking to the media.

Meanwhile, youth from different Rajasthan universities also assembled at Jaipur’s press club seeking relaxation in the EWS category.

Shakti Singh Bandikui, who had been organising such meetings in universities across India, said, “The students of various universities have one demand from all the political parties, to include the promise of relaxation in the EWS category as per Rajasthan state”.

Earlier, Congress Rajya Sabha MP Digvijay Singh had also raised this issue in Parliament and in an exclusive conversation with India Today TV, he had sought relaxation on the EWS reservation at par with the OBC reservation, citing intriguing data.

“The Modi government has done a good job of providing reservations under EWS to the unreserved communities. But the conditions in this led to a very thin selection of unreserved category EWS. For example, for one seat of UPSC, 1,950 scheduled caste candidates are turning up, 1,335 scheduled tribe candidates are turning up, and merely 569 are turning up from the EWS category,” Digvijaya Singh pointed out during the Zero Hour in Parliament in February this year.

“While other communities get age relaxation reservations, SC and ST have five years and OBC have three years of age relaxation, the EWS has none. Many states like Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana have relaxed the five-year age limit. Also, Gujarat and Rajasthan have relaxed the annual income also. I would like to request to provide the same across the country,” Singh said.

The current EWS clause restricts individuals with five acres of land, a residence exceeding 1,000 square feet, or an annual income of Rs eight lakhs.

“The Ashok Dalwai committee report on “doubling the farmers’ income” states that a farmer’s revenue from five acre of land is Rs 1.5 lakh per annum. Even this income varies across regions based on irrigation, soil quality and climate. Further, the income from agriculture is prone to natural calamities as well as man-made calamities. The equivalence drawn by the government between uncertain income from agriculture and certain income from a salaried individual of Rs 8 lakh looks unjust,” many activists claim while speaking on the matter.

By demanding relaxation in EWS reservation, Congress eyes a sizeable vote share of unreserved farming communities in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

The farming communities like Rajputs (in Jammu, Himachal, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, MP, UP, Bihar, Chhattisgarh), Bhumihars and Tyagis (in UP and Bihar), Marathas (in MP and Maharashtra), Vellalars (in Tamil Nadu and Kerala), Jats (in West UP, Haryana, Rajasthan) and many others have been urging the government for a change in the criteria related to land and income limits in the EWS quota for long.

Published By:

Sudeep Lavania

Published On:

Apr 3, 2024

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