What is the full form of EWS
EWS: Economically Weaker Section
EWS stands for Economically Weaker Section. In India, EWS is a subcategory of people who belong to the General Category and have an annual income less than Rs. 8 lakhs and do not belong to any other reserved category such as SC, ST, or OBC. A candidate whose family's income is more than the prescribed limit (8 lakhs) will be considered as a candidate from the General category but not from the EWS category.
The definition of EWS has been given by the Govt. of India, and it is different from Economically Backward Class (EBC). The definition of EBC and Most Economically Backward Class (MEBC) varies in different states and institutions. The Central Government has recently introduced a 10% reservation quota for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of General Category candidates.
Eligibility for EWS Quota:
You are eligible for EWS Reservation, if:
- Your family income is less than Rs. 8lakh per annum
- Agricultural land is less than 5 acres
- The area of the residential flat is less than 1000 sq. ft.
- The area of the residential plot is less than 100/200 sq. yards
Therefore, the eligibility to get the EWS certificate is not based on a single factor. It may consider your annual income, held property, residential flat, etc. The income limit is set by the central government for the students to get admission to central government-owned colleges and jobs offered by the central government. A state government may set a different income limit for candidates seeking admission into state-owned colleges and state government jobs through reservation under the EWS category.
Challenges Faced by Economically Weaker Section (EWS)
The EWS faces a range of challenges that make it difficult for them to improve their standard of living and break out of poverty. Among the main difficulties, the EWS faces are:
- Lack of Education: The EWS frequently lack education, which constricts their employment and upward mobility prospects. Their capacity to gather information and make thoughtful judgements is also constrained by a lack of education.
- Poor Health: The EWS often face poor health due to a lack of access to healthcare and poor living conditions. Their quality of life is negatively impacted, and it also restricts their capacity to work and support themselves.
- Limited Access to Credit: The EWS often lack access to credit, which makes it difficult for them to start a business or invest in their education or healthcare. Their capacity to escape the cycle of poverty is therefore constrained.
- Informal Employment: The EWS frequently work in the unorganised economy, which is characterised by poor pay, little job security, and few benefits. They find it challenging to work steadily and accumulate savings as a result.
- Social Exclusion: The EWS often face social exclusion due to their low income and lack of education. This makes it difficult for them to access government services and programs and also limits their ability to participate in social and cultural activities.
- Lack of Affordable Housing: The EWS often struggle to find affordable housing, which makes it difficult for them to improve their living conditions and stability. This also contributes to overcrowding and poor living conditions, which can exacerbate health problems.
- Vulnerability to Natural Disasters: The EWS is often more vulnerable to natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes, and cyclones, due to their low-income status and poor living conditions. This can lead to loss of life, property, and livelihoods, which can further exacerbate poverty.
- Limited access to essential amenities: The EWS frequently do not have access to essential amenities like power, clean water, or sanitary facilities. Their quality of life is negatively impacted, and it also restricts their capacity to work and support themselves.
- Discrimination: The EWS often face discrimination based on their socio-economic status, caste, or religion, which can limit their opportunities for employment, education, and social mobility.
- Lack of Political Representation: The EWS often lack political representation, which limits their ability to voice their concerns and access government services and programs.
Policies and Programs for Economically Weaker Section (EWS)
The issues encountered by the EWS have been addressed by a number of policies and programmes that the Indian government has put in place. Some of the key policies and programs for EWS include:
- Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY): The PMAY is a government programme that aims to give the EWS and other low-income groups access to affordable homes. The scheme provides financial assistance for the construction or purchase of a house.
- National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA): The NREGA is a government scheme aimed at providing employment opportunities to the rural poor. Every household in rural regions is guaranteed 100 days of employment under the programme.
- Jan Dhan Yojana: The Jan Dhan Yojana is a government programme designed to help the EWS, and other low-income groups get access to financial inclusion. Access to a bank account, a debit card, and insurance are all provided by the plan.
- Mid-Day Meal Scheme: The Mid-Day Meal Scheme is a government program aimed at providing free and nutritious meals to school children. Children from EWS families benefit from the programme in terms of their nutrition and health.
- National Health Mission (NHM): The NHM is a government program aimed at improving access to healthcare for the EWS and other low-income groups. The programme offers money for the development of medical facilities and the delivery of healthcare services.
- Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA): The SSA is a government initiative that aims to give all children between the ages of 6 and 14 years of age free and required education. Children from EWS families have better access to school thanks to the programme.
- National Food Security Act (NFSA): The NFSA is a government scheme aimed at providing food security to the EWS and other low-income groups. The scheme provides subsidised food grains to eligible households.
Challenges in the Implementation of Policies and Programs for EWS
While the government has implemented a range of policies and programs aimed at addressing the challenges faced by the EWS, there are still several challenges in their implementation. Some of the key challenges include:
- Lack of Awareness: Many people from the EWS are not aware of the government policies and programs aimed at helping them. This restricts their capacity to benefit from these initiatives.
- Corruption: Corruption is a major challenge in the implementation of government programs aimed at helping the EWS. Corruption can result in money being stolen, and programme benefits not being distributed to the intended recipients.
- Inadequate Implementation: Inadequate implementation of government programs is a major challenge in India. Programs may not be implemented effectively due to a lack of resources, poor coordination, and insufficient monitoring and evaluation.
- Limited Access to Information and Technology: Many members of the EWS have a difficult time accessing information and technology, which can make it challenging for them to use government services and programmes.
- Social and Cultural Barriers: Social and cultural barriers, such as caste and gender discrimination, can limit the participation of people from the EWS in government programs and services.
- Limited Participation: Limited participation of people from the EWS in decision-making processes can limit their ability to voice their concerns and shape the policies and programs that affect them.
Strategies for Addressing the Challenges Faced by EWS
To address the challenges faced by the EWS, several strategies need to be adopted. Some of the key strategies include:
- Awareness and Capacity Building: To increase the participation of people from the EWS in government programs and services, it is important to raise awareness about these programs and build the capacity of EWS communities to access and use them.
- Transparent and Accountable Governance: Effective government programmes to assist the EWS must be implemented, and transparent and accountable governance is essential. This can be achieved through the use of technology, increased transparency, and monitoring and evaluation.
- Addressing Social and Cultural Barriers: To increase the participation of people from the EWS in government programs and services, it is important to address social and cultural barriers, such as caste and gender discrimination.
- Community Participation: To ensure that government programs and services are effective, it is important to involve communities in the decision-making process and ensure their participation in the implementation of these programs.
- Improving Access to Information and Technology: Improving access to information and technology can help people from the EWS to access government programs and services more easily.
- Strengthening Institutions: Strengthening institutions, such as local governments and civil society organisations, can help to ensure the effective implementation of government programs and services aimed at helping the EWS.
A number of issues affect the EWS in India, such as poverty, prejudice, a lack of access to essential services, and susceptibility to natural catastrophes. The government of India has implemented a range of policies and programs aimed at addressing these challenges, including the PMAY, NREGA, Jan Dhan Yojana, and NFSA. However, there are still several challenges in the implementation of these policies and programs, including corruption, inadequate implementation, and limited access to information and technology. To address these challenges, it is important to adopt strategies that increase awareness and capacity building, improve governance, address social and cultural barriers, ensure community participation, improve access to information and technology, and strengthen institutions. By doing so, India can ensure that the EWS are able to access the services and opportunities they need to improve their lives and achieve greater social and economic mobility.