Govt to raise income bar for OBC creamy layer Rescuers scramble to save flood-hit animals
EYE ON POLLS? Decision will include more OBC people in reservation benefits
The government plans to bring a larger section of other backward classes (OBCs) under the reservation net by relaxing the annual income ceiling that excludes them from these benefits from Rs6 lakh to Rs8 lakh.
The proposal — part of a cabinet note prepared by the ministry of social justice and empowerment — indicates another attempt by the BJP to woo OBCs in states going to polls early next year, especially in Uttar Pradesh where they make up 40% of the population.
OBCs are at present entitled to a 27% quota in public-sector jobs and higher education if they earn Rs6 lakh or less a year. Those who earn above this cap — referred to as the ‘creamy layer’ — are not eligible.
The cabinet is likely to approve the proposal after Parliament’s monsoon session gets over on August 12, official sources said.
OBCs make up 52% of India’s population, according to a 1980 report of the Mandal commission — set up to identify socially or educationally backward sections for quota considerations. The report drew the number from the 1931 census. The findings of a caste-based census conducted in 2011, the first in 80 years, are not out.
The National Sample Survey Organisation in 2006 put the OBC population at 41% but this is not considered accurate by many as the NSSO looked at consumption expenditure and not population.
The Congress’ Manish Tewari called it a “move to deflect attention from the BJP’s anti-backward, anti-Dalit and anti-poor credentials”. Naresh Agarwal of the Samajwadi Party, in power in UP, refused to comment.
Political commentators called it an image-makeover exercise after Rashtriya Swayamsangh Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat’s remarks in September — before the Bihar elections — calling for a review of the reservation system, though he later clarified that the Sangh was not in favour of scrapping quotas.
The last revision of the creamy layer income cap was in 2013 when it was increased from Rs4.5 lakh to Rs6 lakh.
In May 2015, the department of personnel and training requested the ministry to re-examine the criterion for determining the ‘creamy layer’ for OBCs. The ministry gave the job to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), which recommended that the ceiling be raised to Rs15 lakh per annum.
The ministry revised this to Rs8.16 lakh, and a source said the figure “may be appropriately rounded off ”.
“The NCBC recommendation was based on the salaries of group A officers, a certain level of defence forces and paramilitary officers, etc. We have revised the income limit based on Consumer Price Index,” said an official.
The torrential rains over the past weeks may have inconvenienced many humans, but they’ve actually endangered animals — even the national animal.
Across the flooded Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar and Kaziranga National Park in Assam, smaller animals are struggling to avoid drowning while the bigger ones like the tiger and rhinos face a threat to their lives from poachers, who take advantage of the situation to hunt them down.
But at the VTR and KNP, dedicated groups of forest guards and amateur wildlife enthusiasts are working round-the-clock to keep wildlife casualties to a minimum and rescue smaller and younger animals which don’t have the strength to negotiate the strong currents and are often swept away.
At the VTR, 50 swimmers employed by the forest department are helping in rescue of wildlife such as hog deer and barking deer, carrying them to dry A man carries an elderly woman through flood waters after their homes were submerged in Assam’s Morigaon.
land. Nearly 400 forest guards are also working with anti-poaching squads, tiger trackers and regular patrol teams, officials said.
At KNP, rescuers are adopting innovative means to help the confused animals.
On Friday, rescuers carefully covered the eyes of a rhino calf with a piece of cloth to prevent more trauma to the young animal during the journey to safety and a shelter. The rhino was separated
from its mother and was lost in the surging flood waters of the Brahmaputra. “We are trying to get the animals out of the flood zone and guide them to safer areas,” said RB Singh, the field director of VTR, spread across 800 sq km in West Champaran district. But rarely does the Gandak river cause so much flooding in the game safari.
Satish Mathur, a 1981batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer has been appointed Maharashtra’s new director general of police. He will take over from Praveen Dixit, who will retire on Sunday.
The state home department issued the order on Saturday morning, after CM Devendra Fadnavis signed it.
Mathur, 58, has two years to go before he retires in June 2018. He earlier headed the state ACB.
Mathur began his career as an assistant superintendent of police in Kolhapur. During his term as DCP, crime and special branch, in Nagpur, the investigating agency had secured convictions in two high-profile murder cases.