We continue with our Parable of Modern-Day Ekalavya...
Thanks to the recent Supreme Court judgement, Ekalavya had applied and got into a B-school through the "OBC quota" seats
...and immediately hit the glass ceiling described as "Criteria specified in Category VI" in the Supreme Court judgement!!
He could get the admission, because he had qualified, because he belonged to the "reserved" OBC category, and because he did not belong to the "creamy layer" criteria specified in the judgement.
His parents did not fall in the categories of Constitutional Posts, i.e.,
He was also not the progeny of those falling into the Service Category or the category of Armed Forces including Paramilitary Forces, i.e.,
In any case the above would not have qualified for reservations due to the "Criteria specified in Category VI"...
(yes, yes, I am coming to what this criteria is... Let there be some suspence to the story! ;0)
This "Criteria specified in Category VI", however, did apply to the sons and daughters of other categories.
For instance, it applied to sons and daughters of Professional Class and those engaged in Trade and Industry, e.g.,
...and it also applied to the progeny of the Property Owners, e.g.,
But, what was this "Criteria specified in Category VI"?
This was the final "Income/Wealth Test", meant to exclude the "creamy layer" - it excluded people coming from families with sufficient financial means. Based on the famous Indra Sawhney (Mandal) SC Judgement, this criteria excluded sons and daughters whose parents had an annual income of more than Rs 2.5lacs (Rs, 250,000).
Happily and fortunately, this criteria, which would have excluded him from admissions, did not apply to Ekalavya. He did not belong to the "creamy layer". His parents did not hold Constitutional Posts, or were in the Service Category. They were also not in the Professional Class, or engaged in Trade and Industry, with an annual income exceeding Rs 2.5lacs. And, of course, they owned no property, as described in the judgement.
But Ekalavya was crestfallen and dejected - actually shattered - when I met him.
"There is no way, I can get into this B-School," he told me.
"But why?", I asked him. "You have qualified, and you are not in the "creamy layer"."
"But where will I get the money to pay the fee?"
"What's the problem?", I said. "You can get education loan from a bank, can't you? Everyone says how simple education loans are nowadays. And you can pay that back once you get the job. Look at the average B-school salaries these days!"
"But do you know? The IIMs almost doubled up their fee just a week before the Judgement." he spat. "It is close to Rs 10lacs now... Other will follow soon, I am sure."
"How does that matter to you?", I could not comprehend. "What is Rs. 10lacs? You can get the education loan, and pay it back when you get the job. After all, your salary package will compensate for the fee hike."
"Yes, this is what everyone tells me. Once in the job, you can easily cover your costs." he said. "But you need money to get into, and through, a B-school, don't you?."
It was then that he shared the glass ceiling - or the Combo of B-school Fee Hike and India Banks' Association's Model Education Loan Scheme for Pursuing Higher Education in India, which is followed by all banks with minor modifications.
"Not being from the "creamy layer"", he said, "I need to take a loan of at least more than Rs 7.5lacs (The max recommended limit is Rs 10lacs) to pay the fee. I also need money to live and eat during those two years. But that loan requires as, the document says, "co-obligation of parents together with tangible collateral security of suitable value"."
tangible collateral security of suitable value!! What is that!!?
I read through the Model Education Loan Scheme about the collateral security. It read:
"The security can be in the form of land/ building/ Govt. securities/ Public Sector Bonds/Units of UTI, NSC, KVP, life policy, gold, shares/mutual fund units/debentures, bank deposit in the name of student/ parent/ guardian or any other third party with suitable margin."
Ekalavya glared at me. "Please tell me,", he challenged. "...all you who keep talking about "creamy layer". I am not the "creamy layer" and therefore, I am entitled to what you call "reservations". But also because I am not the "creamy layer", the banks would not give me loan to see me through my education."
No! I have no anwers for Ekalavya. Maybe only a solace that, OBC or not, - on the income criteria - more than 95% people in this country do no belong to the "creamy layer"!