The Central Government of India recently introduced EWS Reservation. 10% quota is provided for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) among General Category candidates in government jobs and educational institutions. This is done by adding clauses for the same in the Indian Constitution (103rd Constitution Amendment Act, 2019).
Are you thinking that the 10% Reservation for EWS won’t affect you?
You are probably wrong.
Irrespective of your category – General, OBC, SC, or ST – the new quota act (unless struck down by the Supreme Court of India), will change the seats-share accessible to you.
The total number of seats you can target = Reservation Quota + Merit Quota
Yes, that’s how reservation + merit works in India!
The government had said that the reservation of EWS of general category will be given without tampering the existing reservation quotas for SC, ST and OBCs people.
Well, that’s only half of the story.
Even if your reservation quota is untouched, the merit quota can shrink!
Obviously, it will. This is because the new reservation for EWS is carved out from the existing merit quota.
In how many seats can you compete once EWS Reservation Quota is introduced?
If you belong to general merit, you can compete only in 40.50% seats as 59.50 seats are reserved.
If you are an ST, you can compete in 48% seats (7.5% reservation quota seats+ 40.5% merit seats).
On the same lines, SC category candidates can compete in 55.5% seats (15% reservation quota seats+ 40.5% merit seats) while OBC category candidates can target 67.5% seats (27 % reservation quota seats+ 40.5% merit seats).
Before and After EWS Reservation Quota Introduction
The above analysis shows that irrespective of your category, the number of seats in which each category can compete has come down (except General EWS).
If there are 1000 vacancies, General Merit candidates have to be on the top 405 ranks to get a selection (in this case, 595 seats are reserved, which need fewer cutoff marks as well).
If you don’t fall under EWS, you will have 10% fewer jobs or seats!
Anybody who does not fall under EWS criteria (SC, ST, OBC, or General) will now have 10% fewer jobs to target.
For example, OBCs who could earlier target 77.5% seats (27% reserved and 50.5% general merit) will now see their competitive pool coming down to 67.5% (27% reserved and 40.5% general merit).
If you were from SC category, earlier you had access to 65.50% seats, but now it is only 55.50%.
The pool of ST shrank from 58% to 48%.
And most importantly, the merit quota decreased from 50.50% earlier to 40.50%.
What does the EWS Reservation bring? Inclusion or exclusion?
The new changes paint a darker picture of the exclusion aspect.
Now, about 60% of seats are excluded from the general merit category. They can’t compete in these seats – because these seats are reserved for somebody else.
Everybody – except EWS – lost 10% seats. ST’s are excluded from 52% seats, and SCs are excluded from 44.50% seats. OBC too lost 10% seats, however, their position is relatively better – excluded only from 32.50% seats.
Who will gain from EWS reservation (apart from political parties)?
Economically weaker sections should be uplifted. There is no second question about that. Whether reservation should be used as a tool for the same – for EWS or any other community – is another question. In fact, it’s time to bring reforms to the Reservation System in India. We have already written about that.
Whatever be the case, as the Constitutional Amendment is already made, Economically Weaker Section (EWS) among General category will now get a fixed quota of seats (10%). Into these 10% seats (this will work out only less than100 seats in-case of UPSC Civil Services Exam), other categories – OBC, SC, ST, or General Merit – cannot get into.
Further, if the number of attempts and upper age limit is relaxed for General EWS, more candidates from the General category can now write UPSC Prelims (or other government jobs).
In case of other categories, though their respective reservation quotas are untouched, the effective seats that can be targeted will come down (as seen from the charts above).
How will the EWS quota affect your selection in UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE)?
Cut-offs for General Merit may increase, as there are fewer seats now.
Also, there are chances of more candidates to apply, as there may be relaxations in age limit and number of chances.
What should you do now? All you need to do now is to be a little more serious and approach UPSC CSE strategically.
Don’t waste time. It’s time to start your intense preparation.
The implementation of these changes depends on the review by the Supreme Court, and if the Court declares the new Act as null and void, situation will change to what existed before.
You will get more clarity once the UPSC Civil Services Examination 2019 notification is out. It will be released soon. All the best!