Reservation for EWS (103rd Constitutional Amendment), 2018

Why in news?

The President of India Ram Nath Kovind on 12th January 2019 gave his assent to The Constitution (103rd Amendment) whose aim is to provide reservation in public employment and higher education for EWS (economically weaker sections). The amendment gives up to 10% quota to economically weaker sections.

What?

Reservation in India is provided as a form of affirmative action acting as a positive discrimination, which means reserving access to seats in the government jobs,educational institutions, and even legislatures to certain sections of the population such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.

The Constitutional basis being -
● Article 15 (4) - Enables the State to making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
● Article 16 (4) - Enables the State to make any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.

  • Before the amendment, in India, reservations accounted for a total of 49.5%, with 15%, 7.5% and 27% quotas for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes respectively.
  • Reservation to "Economically weaker sections" is being provided by amending Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution, and this will be a class distinct from the already specified classes of SCs, STs and socially and educationally backward classes.
  • The EWS category includes people belong to every religion in the country, be it Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhist or Zoroastrians.

Key Points -

  • Reservation to Economically weaker sections in jobs and education has been provided by inserting clause (6) in Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution.
  • Article 15(6) enables State to make special provisions for advancement of any economically weaker section of citizens, including reservations in educational institutions. It states that such reservation can be made in any educational institution, including private institutions, whether aided or unaided, except minority educational institutions covered under Article 30(1).

  • Article 15 (6) also states that the upper limit of reservation will be 10 percent, which will be in addition to the existing reservations.

    • As regards reservations in jobs, the proposed Article 16(6) enables State to make provision for reservation in appointments, in addition to the existing reservations, subject to a maximum of 10 percent.

  • "Economically weaker sections" for the purposes of Articles 15 and 16 mean such sections as notified by the State from time to time on the basis of family income and other indicators of economic disadvantage.

Present Criterion -

  • 10% of Vacancies are reserved for the EWS as per the directions of Government of India instructions issued vide DoPT OM No. 36039/1/2019-Estt (Res) dated 19th January, 2019

  • Persons who are not covered under the existing scheme of reservations to the Scheduled Castes, the Schedule Tribes and the Other Backward Classes and whose family has gross annual income below Rs.8.00 lakh (Rupees eight lakh only) are to be identified as EWSs for benefit of reservation.

  • The income shall include income from all sources i.e. salary, agriculture, business, profession etc. and it will be income for the financial year prior to the year of application. Also persons whose family owns or possesses any of the following assets shall be excluded from being identified as EWSs, irrespective of the family income:
    i.) 5 acres of Agricultural Land and above;
    ii.) Residential flat of 1000 sq. ft. and above;
    iii.) Residential plot of 100 sq. yards and above in notified municipalities;
    iv.) Residential plot of 200 sq. yards and above in areas other than the notified municipalities.

  • The property held by a "Family" in different locations or different places would be clubbed while applying the land or property holding test to determine the status.

  • The benefit of reservation under EWS can be availed upon production of an Income and Asset Certificate issued by a Competent Authority.

  • The term "Family" for this purpose will include the person who seeks 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.

Current Status of the Amendment -  

As of April 2019, the Supreme Court is hearing the matter related to its constitutionality on violation of basic structure basic of the Constitution as reservation on economic grounds cannot be limited to the general category and the overall 50 per cent ceiling limit cannot be breached vide Indra Sawhney Judgment.



Questions -

1.Which of the following are correctly matched provisions of the Constitution of India?

  1. a) Article 16 (4) - provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any
    backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately
    represented in the services under the State.

  2. b) Article 15 (6) -special provisions for advancement of any economically weaker section of citizens, including reservations in educational institutions.

  1. c) Article 16 (6) -enables State to make provision for reservation in appointments, in addition to the existing reservations, subject to a maximum of 10 percent.


Select the correct answer using code given below.
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1, 2 and 3.
(d) 1 only.



  1. Consider the following statements with respect to the 103rd Constitutional Amendment.

  1. It provides reservation in public employment and higher education for SEBCs (Socially and Educationally backward classes) and EWS (economically weaker sections).
  2. "Economically weaker sections" means such sections as notified by the State from time to time on the basis of family income and other indicators of economic disadvantage.
  3. The EWS category includes people belong to only Hindu, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism, excluding Islam and Christianity.

Which of the following statement/statements are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1, 2 and 3.
(d) 2 only.




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