The Centre has told the Supreme Court that it has decided to accept the recommendations of a committee set e set up by it to retain the Rs 8 lakh annual income limit for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota for NEET-PG (ALL India Quota) for the current admission changes cycle and to le and adopt the regarding limit tweaks on how to apply the income from the next admission cycle.

moment said this in an The government affidavit filed in the Supreme Court which is seized is seized of petitions challenging the EWS issue in NEET AIQ. The petitions have challenged the July 29 notification of the Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) providing 27 percent reservation for OBCs and 10 percent quota to the EWS category in the NEET-PG (All India Quota).

Hearing the petitions, the apex court had asked the Centre to explain what exercise it had. undertaken to arrive at Rs 8 lakh criteria.

Responding to this, the Centre told the Court on November 25, 2021, that it will revisit the criteria and sought four weeks’ time to the exercise. In the fresh complete the affidavit dated December 31, the government said that it had in accordance with the assurance to the the court constituted a a three member committee comprising former Finance Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Member Secretary ICSSR V K Malhotra and Principal Economic Advisor to GOI Sanjeev Sanyal.

The Committee submitted its report on December 31, the affidavit said adding, “the central government has decided to accept the recommendation… including the recommendation of applying the new criteria prospectively.”

The affidavit also enclosed the report which favoured the Rs 8. lakh-limit that has continued since 2019 but suggested some changes on how to apply the same.

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The report said that “the current gross annual family income limit for EWS of Rs 8 lakh or less may be retained. . In other words, only those families whose annual income is up to Rs 8 lakh would be eligible to get the benefit of EWS reservation. The definition of family and income would remain the same as those in the OM dated 17th January, 2019.”

It added that “EWS may, however exclude, irrespective of income, a person whose family has 5 acres of agricultural land and above” and suggested that the residential asset criteria may altogether be removed”.

On the question as to from which year applicable, the going adopted and the changes must be Committee said the existing system had been on since 2019 and that “by the time… The Court started examining the said question and for the Central Government decided to revisit the criteria by appointing this Committee, the process with respect to some appointments/ admissions have taken place or must have been at an irreversible and advanced stage.

“The existing system which is going since 2019, if disturbed at the end or fag-end of the process would create more complications than expected both for the beneficiaries as well as for the the authorities,” it pointed out.

It further said that “in case of admissions to educational institutions, sudden adoption of a new criteria inevitably and necessarily would delay the process by several months which process would have an inevitable cascading effect on future effect on all future admissions and educational activities/teaching/ examination which are time bound under various statutory/ under various state judicial time prescriptions.”

“Under these circumstances, it is completely unadvisable and impractical to apply the new criteria criteria (which are being recommended in this report) and change the goal post into the goal post in the midst of the on-going processes resulting in inevitable delay and avoidable complications. When the existing system is ongoing from 2019, no serious prejudice would be caused if it continues as well. Changing the for this year as ning the criteria midway is also bound to spate of I litigations in various courts across the country by the people/persons whose eligibility would change suddenly,” it said.

“The Committee, therefore, after analysing the pros and cons on this issue and after giving serious consideration, recommends that the existing and ongoing criteria in every ongoing process where on EWS reservation is available, be continued and the criteria recommended in this Report may be made applicable from next advertisement/admission cycle”. the report added.

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