Do you belong to Other Backward Classes (OBC)? What is the OBC reservation eligibility?
Non-Creamy Layer candidates from OBC are entitled to reservations in jobs as well as educational institutions. However, many candidates (and even some bureaucrats) are ignorant about the provisions of the OBC reservation.
If you are a deserving candidate belonging to the OBC category, you should not miss the benefits of an OBC reservation (due to ignorance). In this post, we shall see the criteria for determining whether you fall under OBC Creamy Layer or OBC Non-Creamy Layer.
Other Backward Classes (OBC)
Other Backward Classes (OBC) are socially and educationally backward classes in India. OBCs are distinct from Scheduled Classes (SC) or Scheduled Tribes (ST).
The Central Government of India maintains a list of castes/communities to be considered as OBC.
Benefits of being included in the OBC list:
To uplift Other Backward Classes (OBC), both the Central Government and State Governments are running a lot of programs and schemes. Some benefits include:
- 27% Reservation Quota with respect to the seats in Government Jobs (like IAS, IPS etc) and Government institutes (like the IIMs and IITs).
- There is relaxation with respect to the upper age limit for various examinations like UPSC Civil Services Exam.
- There is relaxation with respect to the number of attempts for exams.
- There is relaxation with respect to cut-off marks (only lower cut-off marks are usually needed to clear exams).
Will all OBCs get the reservation benefit?
Only if you belong to Non-Creamy Layer OBC, you will get the reservation in jobs as well as in educational institutions.
If you fall under the Creamy Layer of OBC, you will not get the benefit of an OBC reservation.
Origin of Creamy Layer concept with respect to OBC
Due to the recommendations of the Mandal Commission, the Central Government issued an Office Memorandum to reserve 27% posts in central government services. The order was challenged by Indra Sawhney (Indra Sawhney and Others Vs Government of India) in Supreme Court (1992).
The constitutional bench of the apex court upheld the decision to reserve 27% reservation for OBC’s in Central Government service. But in the verdict, Honorable Supreme Court cleared that the creamy layer among OBC’s should be excluded from the reservation.
Central Government constituted a commission chaired by Justice Ram Nandan Prasad to identify the creamy layer among OBC’s. The commission recommendations were as such approved by the Central Government.
Based on this, the Central Government issued an order regarding the guidelines and criteria for excluding Creamy Layer among OBC. The same criteria and guidelines are still in force for identifying Creamy Layer among OBC’s.
Note: There is no concept of the creamy layer with respect to SC/ST reservation.
How can you know if you get OBC Reservation?
Central Government maintains a list of castes or communities which are given OBC status. Check the Central List of OBCs – based on your state. If your caste or community is mentioned there, you can apply under OBC quota – provided you meet the Non-Creamy Layer criteria as well.
If the candidate’s community is mentioned in the above list, then the next step is to check whether he/she belongs to the creamy layer or to the non-creamy layer. You should note that reservations are offered only to candidates belonging to the OBC non-creamy layer.
How can you know if you belong to Creamy Layer OBC or Non-Creamy Layer OBC?
The creamy layer is based on the status of your parents.
For the jobs under the Central Government, if the parents of an applicant entered the service as Class I officer before the age of 40 (direct recruitment), the applicant is considered as a creamy layer.
Also, if both the parents of the candidates entered into service as class II officers, before the age of 40 (direct recruitment), and entered into the service before the age of 40, the applicant is considered as a creamy layer.
Who comes under Non-Creamy Layer OBC?
Except for the above children of the above-mentioned employees, almost all get the benefit of “Non-Creamy Layer” Status.
- If your parents are not directly recruited Class1 (Group A) or Class2 (GroupB) officers OR they do not occupy any constitutional posts (like that of President, Vice President, Governor etc) you are most likely to fall under Non-Creamy Layer OBC.
- If your parents are not employed by the government, their income should be within the limits by the government to be treated as Non-Creamy Layer OBC.
Income Limit of determining the Non-Creamy Layer Status of OBCs
In order to qualify as an OBC non-creamy layer candidate, the applicant’s parents’ annual income should be less than Rs. 8 lakhs.
Salary and agricultural income are not to be considered as income for calculating annual income for creamy layer status. As far as the Government employees are considered, the entry cadre/post is to be taken into consideration.
While applying the “Income/Wealth Test” to determine the creamy layer status of any candidate, income from the salaries and income from the agricultural land shall not be taken into account. It means that if income from other sources other than the salary and agriculture exceeds the income limit, then only the candidates shall be treated as Creamy Layer.
Note: When the creamy layer concept was introduced, the income limit was set at Rs 1 lakh per annum (1993). Thereafter, it was raised to Rs 2.5 lakhs p.a (2004). It was subsequently increased to Rs 4.5 lakhs p.a. in 2008 and then to Rs 6 lakhs p.a in 2013. The current limit is Rs.8 lakhs per annum.
Who is the authority to issue the OBC Non-Creamy Layer Certificate?
Usually, the Non-Creamy Layer Certificate is issued by the Tahsildar of the concerned State Government. The procedure for obtaining the Non-Creamy Layer Certificate may differ from State to State.
Please find below some useful links to application forms and certificates (proforma):
Will the candidate’s Income be also included while determining the family income with respect to Non-Creamy Layer status?
You may note that ”Income” here refers only to the income of the parents and not the candidate’s income.
The creamy layer status of a candidate is determined on the basis of the status of his/her parents and not on the basis of his/her own status or income or that of his/her spouse (husband or wife). Therefore, while determining the creamy layer status of a person, the status or the income of the candidate himself or of his/her spouse (husband or wife) shall not be taken into account.
In short, the candidate’s income is not considered for determining the Non-Creamy Layer Status of OBCs.
Info-bits which will be useful for you to get OBC Non-Creamy Layer Certificate
- With regarding parents under Government employment, the status of the job (Group A/B/C/D) is more important than the salary. If your parents are earning more than 8 lakhs but their rank is below that of group B officers, you will still come under the Non-Creamy Layer.
- However, regarding parents under private employment or private business, annual income is the main criterion. Nevertheless, salary and income from other sources should be considered separately.
The main point here is to treat income from salary and income from other sources separately. Neither salary nor income from other sources should cross Rs.8 lakhs in three consecutive years.
- Check your parent’s salary for the last three consecutive years. If in any of the last 3 years it is below 8 lakhs, you are qualified for OBC Non-creamy layer status, provided income from other sources is also less than 8 lakhs.
- As per rules, group category A & B (Service Category), the son(s) and daughter(s) of Group A/Class I Officers and both the parents of Group B/Class II Officers only are excluded from availing the benefit of reservation. All other Officers i.e. if only one of the parents is a Group B/Class II Officer and all the Officers below the Category II Officers are entitled to avail the rule of reservation unless their other income other than the salaries and agricultural land exceeds the income criteria limit prescribed.
- As far as Group B/Class II Officers are concerned, if one of the parents of the children while working as Group B/Class II Officer gets into Group A/Class I Officer at the age of 40 or earlier, then also the children are not entitled to the benefit of reservation. But in case the Group B/Class II Officer gets into Group A/Class I Officer after the age of 40 years, the children are entitled to get the reservation.
- In PSUs, all executive-level posts, board-level executives and managerial-level posts are treated as equivalent to Group ‘A’ posts in the government and will be considered ‘creamy layer’.
- Junior management grade scale 1 and above of public sector banks, financial institutions and public sector insurance corporations will be treated as equivalent to group ‘A’ in the government and considered as OBC ‘creamy layer’.
- OBC reservation eligibility is entirely different from EWS reservation eligibility. Don’t mix up things. Income and Asset Certificate needed for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) among General Category is different from the Income and Wealth certificate mandated for the Other Backward Castes (OBC) Non-Creamy Layer.
One of the best resources for any clarification regarding OBC reservation is NCBC (National Commission For Backward Classes) Website. For additional queries or concerns, refer the documents listed below:
- Government Clarifications regarding NCL
- NCBC Supplementary Report
- Persmin Report on the scope of the reservation
What is the validity of an OBC Non-Creamy Layer Certificate?
The Non-creamy Layer (NCL) Certificate would be applicable to OBC candidates who are covered under the Income/Wealth Test criterion. The income limit is decided on the basis of income earned during three previous financial years preceding the year of appointment.
To illustrate, the validity of non-creamy layer certificate issued during any month of the financial year 2016-17 covering 3 preceding financial years viz. 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 be accepted by the concerned authorities for any appointments or recruitments which would be valid during the period April 2016 to March 2017.
The appointing authorities would accept the production of a self-attested photocopy of the Non-creamy layer certificate, subject to verification of the original Non-creamy layer certificate, as is the practice being followed for verification of other original documents.
With respect to exams conducted by UPSC, the candidates are expected to possess certificates dated than the closing date of the application for the preliminary exam. For example, with respect to UPSC CSE Prelims 2019, the OBC certificate should be dated before 18th March 2019.
While the OBC status of a candidate may change only when the community of the concerned candidate is removed from the OBC list, his/her creamy layer status may change at any time. Therefore, it is not possible to determine a fixed validity period for the OBC certificate.
However, for most practical purposes, the validity of an OBC NCL Certificate is treated like 1 year. If your OBC NCL certificate was obtained before 1 year, it is always better to get a new OBC NCL before applying for exams.
Also, it is advisable to get the OBC NCL Certificate in either English (prefered) or Hindi.
What if you fall under OBC creamy layer?
Candidates who fall under OBC creamy layer (parents’ annual income more than 8 lakhs) are treated as general category students. They do not have any reservations at the Government institutions.
They can compete in general merit.
The purpose of OBC reservation (non-creamy layer), is to uplift the most deserving candidates among backward classes. Except for the most privileged, most of the OBC candidates usually come under Non-Creamy Layer OBC.
However, many eligible candidates are not aware of how to obtain the required certificate.
To make matters worse, corrupt and ignorant bureaucrats often deny deserving candidates the OBC non-creamy layer certificate.
By going through the provisions of the government regarding non-creamy layer criteria in detail, you can claim your deserving quota without any harassment from the authorities.
Let us know in the comments if you face any issues regarding the OBC non-creamy layer certificate. Either our team or fellow readers or aspirants will definitely help.