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Panel had recommended keeping income tax payers out of 'general quota', suggested other steps too

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Shahroz Afridi

While Centre has announced 10% reservation for people in the unreserved category, the committee that had recommended reservations to poor had suggested that the income tax payers should not be given the benefit of reservation.

The chairman of the committee, Major General (Retired) SR Sinho has said that the committee had given a report, recommending that the benefit should not be extended to the tax payers. Interestingly, the report was submitted in the year 2010. And, the income tax was limit was much lower then, barely 1.6 lakh.

Sinho says that the committee had conducted the study and found out that 72% of the poor belonging to unreserved class lived in 9 states including Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Assam and Bihar.

In accordance with the population figures that the commission picked from study made in 2004, the population of people belonging to general class was considered to be 31.5 crores out of which 5.58 crore people were identified as poor.

Major Sinho says that the people belonging to general class may not have been sociall backward but they were found lagging behind, economically. “They should be provided technical training and provided with skill development so that their chances increase in getting employment,” said Sinho. Facilities like medical insurance too should be given to them.

Following lines of the union government, MP government under Shivraj Singh Chouhan had also then formed a commission called, Aarthik Pichda Varg Aayog or the Economically Backward Class Commission that was headed by MP minister Paras Jain. However, the commission formed by MP government couldn't do much.

Surprisingly, the Centre has now come up with the 10% reservation (for government jobs and admission in educational institutions) now, on the basis of the same report. However, it has kept the limit for beneficiaries at Rs 8 lakh per annum (apart from land holdings).

This in sharp contrast with the recommendations of the Commission for Economically Backward Classes formed by Ministry of social justice and empowerment to study about providing reservation for general category had recommended that benefit should be given only to non-income tax payers.


Some other recommendations made by the commission included constituting an economically backward class commission and national finance and development corporation. There should be commission to monitor the implementation of commission’s recommendations and its impact on lives of poor, said Sinho.

First commission to look into reservation for general class was formed in 1991 when PV Narasimha Rao was Prime Minister of the country. Later another commission was formed again in 2004- again during Congress led UPA regime. 

The commission headed by Major Sinho was formed in 2006 – during UPA’s tenure. The commission submitted its report in 2010. It took almost ten years for a government to take decision on its recommendation.