NEET-PG 2021 Admission; Income limit of Rs 8 lakh will remain for EWS reservation, Center tells SC.

Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing in the NEET post-graduate admissions case to be held on January 6, the Centre has filed an affidavit stating that the Rs 8 lakh annual income criterion for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) reservation will remain.

Last month, resident doctors across the country had protested the delay in the NEET-PG 2021 admission process. The Supreme Court had stayed the process following a petition challenging the EWS criteria as ‘discriminatory’. The court had asked how the income limit of Rs 8 lakh was fixed. On Friday, the resident doctors called off their strike on the condition that the NEET-PG 2021 counseling dates would be announced after the January 6 hearing in the Supreme Court.

Center accepted the recommendations of the committee:

The Center in its affidavit said that it will accept all the recommendations of the three-member committee set up to evaluate the EWS criteria. According to this, the current annual family income limit for EWS reservation will remain at Rs 8 lakh. Additionally, the residential property criterion is to be removed.

Those families who have more than five acres of agricultural land will not be eligible for EWS reservation irrespective of annual income. However, these recommendations will be prospective and will not affect the current admissions cycle. The committee’s report states that changing the criteria for EWS reservation in the middle of the admission process will lead to complications.

As per the affidavit, the three-member committee examined the background of those who have benefited from EWS reservations so far.

“Given that there is no evidence of the bunching of EWS candidates at the highest income bracket of Rs 5-8 lakh, the current cut-off of Rs 8 lakhs is not leading to a major problem of the inclusion of undeserving candidates. Despite the fact that the bulk of the qualifying candidates is below Rs 5 lakhs, a somewhat higher threshold is needed which ensures that deserving beneficiaries affected by various factors such as income volatility, size of family, high cost of living in certain locations are not excluded,” the committee report says.

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