Creamy layer may hit BCs hard

Hyderabad: In a move that is bound to once again see fierce resistance from some sections in the backward classes community, the Andhra Pradesh government is making another attempt to identify the creamy layer of backward classes in the state so that they can be kept out of the reservation in government jobs and educational institutions.

The new chairperson of the Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) Rachel Chatterjee is reportedly firm on implementing the creamy layer into its policy on reservations for recruitment. The cabinet sub-committee appointed for the purpose is finalizing the guidelines for the same. Two earlier attempts by the government to implement it, including one in April 2006 and the other in October 2009, were thwarted by backward classes (BC) groups.

In 2006, the government, then headed by YS Rajasekhara Reddy, had issued an order to implement the creamy layer for reservations for BCs in education and jobs. However, bowing to pressure from BC ministers and organizations, the government immediately withdrew the order. In 2009, then chief minister K Rosaiah -led government also tried to implement the creamy layer by issuing GO 496, fixing the income eligibility ceiling at Rs 4 lakhs.

This meant that only those with income below this level would be eligible for reservations. However, the GO triggered widespread outrage and calls for agitation from the Backward Classes Associations, once again forcing the government to rescind the order.

The Kiran Kumar Reddy-led government has now reopened the case reportedly at the insistence of the APPSC. Roads and Building minister Dharmana Prasada Rao told TOI that the government was studying the Supreme Court order to fix the creamy layer. “The creamy layer will be implemented only if the government takes a decision,” said Prasada Rao, who is a member of the cabinet sub-committee appointed to fix the income ceiling to identify the creamy layer.

The Supreme Court had directed in the Mandal Commission case that the Centre and states should identify the creamy layer among BCs to exclude them from the benefits of reservations. Further, in 1993, the Centre had issued orders enumerating persons belonging to OBC for exclusion from reservations.

The state government also requested the Andhra Pradesh Commission for Backward Classes to evolve criteria to identify creamy layer among socially and educationally backward classes. BC leaders are however opposing the concept of the implantation of creamy layer as it does not uniformly apply and does not pertain to Scheduled Castes and women. “We will oppose any such move in Andhra Pradesh as the creamy layer hurts the objective of the reservations for OBCs,” R Krishnaiah, a leader of the AP Backward Classes said, pointing out that after Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu had also postponed the creamy layer implementation earlier.

In 2008, the Union government hiked the income limit defining the ‘creamy layer’ among Other Backward Castes (OBCs) to Rs 4.5 lakhs from Rs 2.5 lakhs. However, since the limit in Andhra Pradesh was set at Rs 4 lakhs, it has been proposed to hike this ceiling to Rs 4.5 lakhs and exclude those with incomes above this from reservation benefits.

This move will also change the face of the BC certificate in the state, which currently does not provide certification of creamy layer, to include it in the future.
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