Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in India is a subcategory of people belonging to the General Category having an annual family income less than ₹8 lakhs and who absolutely do not belong to any category such as SC/ST/OBC/MBC (Tamil Nadu). If a candidate who doesn’t fall under castes recognised as SC/ST/OBC by the Govt. of India & his/her annual family income is below the prescribed limit of ₹8 lakhs by Government of India (or as prescribed by state govt in the respective states), then he/she will be recognised as EWS category.


The Union Government of India tabled the Constitution (One Hundred And Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019 which provided 10% additional quota for the EWS students amongst the erstwhile Unreserved category or General category students.

The terms Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and Economically Backward Class (EBC) are not meant to be confused with each other in India. The definition of EWS has been defined by the Government of India whereas the definition of EBC and Most Economically Backward Class (MEBC) vary in different states as well as institutions.

There is no official figure for the percentage of the Indian population who belong to the EWS category, but they were given 10 percent reservation.

The eligibility to get the EWS certificate is not only purely based on annual family income but also based on the held property. The income limit has been set by the central government for admission to central government-owned colleges and jobs offered by the central government. State governments are given the authority to change the eligibility criteria and also to extend the income limit further for candidates seeking reservation under EWS category which will be valid only in state-owned colleges and state government’s jobs as deemed fit for the respective states.

People belonging to Economically Weaker Section since 1 February 2019 now get 10% reservation in education (supernumerary seats created for EWS category) and government jobs of India (vartical reservations) similarly like OBC, SC, ST.[10] There was huge unrest among people which came out in many ways including the form of anti-reservation agitations.

Current definition of Economically Weaker Section


  • Candidate’s annual family income must be less than Rs. 8 lakhs per annum.
  • His family must not own more than 5 acres of agriculture land.
  • The residential flat area should be below 1000 sq ft.
  • The residential plot’s area should be below 100 square yards if in a notified municipality sector.
  • The residential plot’s area should be below 200 square yards if in a non-notified municipality sector.

EWS certificate can be used to avail the 10% reservation for the Economically Weaker Section in higher education all over the India and government jobs.