Economically Weaker Section

Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in India is a subcategory of people having an annual family income less than 8 lakh (US$10,000) and who do not belong to any category such as SC/ST/OBC across India, nor to MBC in Tamil Nadu.[1][2] A candidate who does not fall under SC/ST/OBC and fulfils the EWS economic criteria are to be part of the EWS category.[3][4]


On 7 January 2019, Union Council of Ministers approved a 10% reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in the General category.[5] The cabinet decided that this would be over and above the existing 50% reservation for SC/ST/OBC categories.[6]

On 8 January 2019, The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019, was tabled in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament of India and it was passed on the same day. The bill was passed by the upper house Rajya Sabha on 9 January. President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to the bill on 12 January 2019, and a gazette was released on the bill, which turned it into law. Coming into force on 14 January 2019, the One Hundred and Third Amendment of the Constitution of India amended articles 15(6) and 16(6) of the Constitution of India to permit 10% reservations to the EWS category. A number of state cabinets approved the law and announced their intention to implement the 10% EWS reservations.

On 10 January 2019, Youth For Equality, an NGO that opposes caste-based policies, challenged the proposed amendment at the Supreme Court of India on grounds that it breaches the 50% reservations ceiling set by the same court;[7] the group said it fully supports EWS reservations but wants this to be done by converting the existing 27% OBC quota into an economic means-tested non-caste-based quota instead, thus staying within the 50% cap set by the apex court.[7] Conversely, leaders of Backward Classes welfare groups also approached the Supreme Court, opposing reservations for EWS groups altogether, arguing that EWS groups did not meet the reservations criteria that the same court had specified in an earlier case.[8]

On 25 January 2019, the Supreme Court refused to stay the 10% reservation given to GEN-EWS category in government jobs and educational institutions.[9] On 6 August 2020, the court decided that a 5-member bench would hear the case.[10]

On 7 November 2022, Supreme Court of India by a 3:2 verdict in Janhit Abhiyan vs Union Of India Writ Petition (Civil) No(S). 55 OF 2019, upheld the validity of the 103rd constitutional amendment carried out to provide legal sanction carve out 10% reservation for the economically weaker sections from unreserved classes for admission in educational institutions and government jobs and held that the 50% cap on quota is not inviolable and affirmative action on economic basis may go a long way in eradicating caste-based reservation.[11][12] This constitutional amendment pushed the total reservation to 59.50% in central institutions.


Reservations in Central Govt educational institutions and jobs.

The Union Government of India tabled the Constitution (One Hundred third, 103rd CAA) Bill, 2019,by amending article 15(6) and 16(6) of constitution which provided 10% additional quota for the EWS students amongst the erstwhile Unreserved category or General category students.

The terms Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and Economically Backward Class (EBC) are not meant to be confused with each other in India. The definition of EWS has been defined by the Government of India, whereas the definition of EBC and Most Economically Backward Class (MEBC) vary in different states as well as institutions.

The eligibility to get the EWS certificate is not only purely based on annual family income but also based on the held property. The income limit has been set by the central government for admission to central government-owned colleges and jobs offered by the central government. State governments are given the authority to change the eligibility criteria and also to extend the income limit further for candidates seeking reservation under EWS category, which will be valid only in state-owned colleges and state government's jobs as deemed fit for the respective states.

People belonging to the Economically Weaker Section since 1 February 2019 now get 10% reservation in education and government jobs of India (vertical reservations) similar to OBC, SC, ST.[13]

This reservation weakened the pace of many reservation agitations such as the Jat reservation moment, Patidar reservation movement, and Kapu reservation movement. Aspirants from the EWS category are not fully satisfied with this reservation because it does not include many benefits like age relaxation, fee relaxation, post metric scholarship and house criteria from the very beginning.

Current definitionEdit

The definition of Family in EWS reservation means:-"The person who seeks the benefit of reservation, his/her parents and siblings below the age of 18 years as also his/her spouse and children below the age of 18 years".[14]

  • Candidate's annual family income must be less than Rs. 8 lakhs per annum.[15]
  • Their family must not own more than 5 acres of agriculture land.[16]
  • The residential flat area should be below 1000 sq ft.[17]
  • The residential plot's area should be below 100 square yards if in a notified municipality sector.[15]
  • The residential plot's area should be below 200 square yards if in a non-notified municipality sector.[15]

EWS certificate can be used to avail the 10% reservation for the GEN-Economically Weaker Section[13] in higher education all over the India[18] and government jobs.[19]

Eligibility Criteria Across StatesEdit

While the eligibility criteria for EWS reservations in the union government programmes are uniform across the country, it's implementation in various states differ. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal have adopted EWS quota.[20]


On October 21, 2019, the Kerala Cabinet decided to amend the State and Subordinate Service Rules and implement the EWS scheme. The Cabinet noted that the implementation did not affect the existing reservation categories. A panel headed by the retired judge, KS Sasidharan Nair, was appointed by the government to set the criteria for EWS in the state.[21] The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the Welfare Party of India and the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), and the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam had come out against the move.[22] After studying the report, the government implemented its suggestions after some modifications. Under this, eligibility for EWS was changed for higher education and jobs in the state of Kerala.

  • Candidate's annual family income should be less than Rs. 4 lakhs per annum.[23]
  • Person's family must not hold more than 2.5 acres of land in panchayat area, 75 cents of land in municipal area or 50 cents in municipal corporation area.[23]
  • Person's family must not hold house plots having an area of more than 20 cents in a municipality area or more than 15 cents in municipal corporation area.[23]


In June 2021, the tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra announced that the Maratha Community can now avail benefits under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota.[citation needed]


Two schemes that are specifically designed for the EBCs and MEBCs are the Post-Matric Scholarship & Interest Subsidy on Educational Loans for overseas Studies.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "EWS Reservation Eligibility – Know the Criteria to apply for the 10% Economically Weaker Section Quota Seats". ClearIAS. 2019-02-20. Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  2. ^ "SC refuses to stay decision to grant reservation to EWS category". India Today. July 1, 2019. Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  3. ^ "Education of the Economically Backward Class". Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Maharashtra government raises EBC limit to Rs 1 lakh with a rider". The Economic Times. 14 October 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Union Cabinet approves 10% reservation for economically weak among upper caste - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Plea in SC challenges 10% quota to poor in general category". The Economic Times. 22 January 2019. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Bill for 10 pc reservation for poor in general category challenged in SC". Business Standard India. Press Trust of India. 2019-01-10. Retrieved 2019-01-25.
  8. ^ "Backward Classes leaders to knock Supreme Court door over quota - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2019-01-25.
  9. ^ "SC refuses to stay 10% EWS quota". The Indian Express. 2019-01-25. Retrieved 2019-01-25.
  10. ^ "EWS - Plain English of Referral Order". Supreme Court Observer. Legal Observer Trust. 2020-08-06. Archived from the original on 2020-09-21. Retrieved 2020-11-21.
  11. ^ "Supreme Court upholds EWS quota in 3-2 split verdict, CJI in minority".
  12. ^ "Reservation policy cannot stay for indefinite period, says Supreme Court".
  13. ^ a b "10% reservation for economically weak in general category comes into force - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  14. ^ "" (PDF).
  15. ^ a b c "In-depth: Who is eligible for the new reservation quota for general category?". Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  16. ^ Desk, India com News (2019-01-22). "10% Quota For Economically Weaker Upper Castes in Govt Jobs to Implemented From Feb 1". Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  17. ^[bare URL PDF]
  18. ^ "Delhi University to add 16,000 seats as Centre seeks implementation of EWS quota from 2019-20 academic session". dna. 2019-01-23. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  19. ^ "10% quota in govt jobs applicable from Feb: Centre". 2019-01-20. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  20. ^ "EWS — Govt takes a decision after much dilly-dallying - The Hindu".
  21. ^ "Kerala Cabinet to reserve 10 per cent govt appointments for EWS in general category". ANI News. Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  22. ^ Staff Reporter (2020-11-02). "Kerala Public Service Commission to implement 10% quota for EWS". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  23. ^ a b c "Government Order (Ms) No.5/2019/P&ARD dated 12th March 2019". Government of Kerala. India (pdf). Archived from the original on 2020-11-03. Retrieved 2021-06-02.

External linksEdit