Mixed response in Kerala to `creamy layer’ decision

October 3rd, 2008 - 9:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghThiruvananthapuram, Oct 3 (IANS) There was mixed reaction in Kerala Friday to the cabinet’s decision to raise the income limit defining the “creamy layer” among other backward castes (OBCs) so that more people from socially deprived groups become eligible for affirmative action.Families earning over Rs.450,000 per annum will now be considered “creamy layer” among OBCs, up from Rs.250,000 earlier, as per the decision of the union cabinet at its meeting Friday, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Sukumaran Nair, assistant secretary of the Nair Service Society, the social organisation of the powerful Nair community of the Hindus in the state, said the decision is nothing but meant for garnering votes.

“This is being done with just the forthcoming elections in mind and we express our strong protest to the decision made today (Friday),” Nair told reporters.

The Nairs in the state belong to the forward caste and have been harping on reservation based on the economic status and not merely the social and community status.

Muslims, who constitute nearly 23 percent of the state’s population of 32 million, are included in the OBC list in Kerala. Also included under the OBC category are almost 10 percent of the Christians - forming 22 percent of the state’s population.

The biggest chunk of the OBCs comes from the Hindu Ezhava community that constitutes over half of the Hindus here.

Ezhava leader Vellapally Natesan said that even though the decision came late, it is good.

“But the limit is so less. The ideal limit should have been Rs.900,000,” said Natesan.

Former education minister and Indian Union Muslim League leader E.T. Mohammed Basheer said the announcement was welcome.

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