The Act specifies that admission in the free seats should be offered to two categories of children defined as:
"child belonging to DISADVANTAGED GROUP" means a child belonging to the Scheduled Caste, the Scheduled Tribe, the socially and educationally backward class or such other group having disadvantage owing to social, cultural, economical, geographical, linguistic, gender or such other factor, as may be specified by the appropriate government, by notification;
"child belonging to WEAKER SECTION" means a child belonging to such parent or guardian whose annual income is lower than the minimum limit specified by the appropriate Government, by notification;"
Individual states and union territories have also issued rules which specify detailed eligibility criteria and family income limits for eligible children. For more details, please click on the location in the left sidebar.
Colloquially, in common parlance all eligible children for the 25% reserved seats are also referred to as belonging to the "economically weaker section" (EWS).