Maharashtra proposes 16 per cent quotas for Marathas

Mumbai, Nov 29 (IANS) The Maharashtra government has proposed to give 16 per cent reservations to the politically influential Maratha community under a new Social and Economically Backward Class category here on Thursday.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tabled the Action Taken Report (ATR) on the recommendations of the State Backward Class Commission on the long-pending demand of the Marathas.

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Fadnavis also tabled the Bill based on the ATR recommendations to provide for quotas in educational institutions and in government jobs, before both Houses of the legislature.

However, the report on quotas for the Dhangar community is yet to be completed for which a sub-committee has been appointed and its ATR would be tabled in the legislature soon, he added.

Leaders of different political parties greeted the developments as “a historic day for the Marathas” who comprise nearly 30 percent of the state’s population.

Since the Maratha reservations come under a new SEBC category, they will not affect the existing quotas for Scheduled Castes, Schedules Tribes and Other Backward Classes (SC/ST/OBCs).

The ATR says that the Marathas comprise a socially and economically backward class who are without adequate reservations in education and government jobs.

Accordingly, they are entitled to the quota benefits enshrined in the Articles 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution and the government could initiate suitable measures to address the issues.

The previous Congress-Nationalist Congress Party had also made a similar 16 percent quota proposal but it was stayed by the Bombay High Court.

The Marathas have been organising massive silent protests all over the state for nearly two years, including agitations in July-August this year which became violent.

Thursday’s development comes ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.