The chairman of the National Commission for Economically Backward Classes, which gave its report this week after working on it for four years, has said EBCs, who number about 50-60 million, deserve the same concessions as given to scheduled castes and tribes.
Speaking to Business Standard from Bhopal, Major General (retd) S R Sinho, the chairman, said: “Welfare measures are a must for the EBC. Whatever is provided for SC/STs should be provided to the EBC, too.’’
The commission has included all those not paying income tax — it applies for earnings above Rs 16,000 a month — as EBCs. By contrast, the official efintion of the poverty line in urban areas is a monthly earning below Rs 3,000 and for ural areas, Rs 2,250.
The Commission has recommended other criteria, too, such as possession of land, the type of house owned, the type of land, whether it is irrigated, the size of the home, the location (as in border areas or inaccessible ones) or whether a person is part of a shifting population, as in migrant workers. The Commission was appointed by the UPA government in 2006 to look at the needs of poor people who come under the general category and so, are not eligible for the welfare and reservation measures available for the reserved categories of scheduled castes/tribes and Other Backward Classes (OBCs).