A labourer, a security guard or a sanitation worker, working on a contractual basis, cannot get their children admitted to a private school under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category — even if they are paid only minimum wages.
As the nursery admission process for EWS applicants kicks off on Tuesday, the Rs 1 lakh income limit is going to be a sore point for those parents who will miss the mark by a whisker.
With the revision in minimum wages kicking in last year, an unskilled worker earns Rs 1.68 lakh as minimum wage per annum.
The All India Parents’ Association (AIPA) has written to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asking that the limit be increased from the existing Rs 1 lakh to Rs 3 lakh per annum.
“The parental annual income limit for EWS admissions in private schools, situated on government land, was fixed as Rs 1 lakh in 2004, when such admissions were started for the first time. When the Right to Education Act was implemented in 2010, the income limit was maintained at Rs 1 lakh. Even after 14 years, the limit has remained the same,” the letter states.
AIPA president Ashok Agarwal suggested that the limit be increased to Rs Rs 3 lakh: “The Centre is talking about a Rs 8 lakh limit for the EWS category… here in Delhi, even those who earn minimum wage are missing the mark. This needs to be rectified.”
Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia told The Indian Express that the high number of applicants for EWS seats means the income criteria is justified.
“If we were falling short of candidates, a change could be mulled. However, with the minimum wage increase, this is something that can be looked at, but only in the next admission session,” he said.