The Maharashtra government has decided to stand guarantor for loans to be disbursed to youth from the Maratha community under a scheme to extend financial assistance to backward communities.
The decision was taken at the cabinet sub-committee chaired by Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil yesterday. The committee has been set up to take steps for the welfare of the Maratha community, which has been agitating over its demand for reservation in government jobs and education.
The panel had received complaints that banks were not approving loans of people from the community and asking for counter-guarantee.
Over 10,000 applications are pending for approval, and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had earlier given an assurance that he will take up the issue with the State Level Bankers' Committee (SLBC).
During the meeting yesterday, the cabinet sub-committee decided that the government would stand guarantor for loans to be given to the Maratha youth under a scheme of the state-run Annabhau Sathe Financial Development Corporation, said an official release issued late last night.
The scheme aims to improve the financial condition of backward communities by offering assistance for self-employment and other business ventures.
The M.Phil and PhD research students from the community will also be given fellowships by the Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaja Research, Training and Human Development Institute (SARTHI), set up by the government in Pune.
The institute's mandate is to study social, financial and educational issues faced by Marathas, Kunbis and farmers in the state.
Mr Patil said the government has decided to pay half of the fees of students including Marathas, whose family income is less than Rs 8 lakh per annum, for 608 professional courses.
Action would be taken against colleges which do not admit students by taking 50 per cent fees (as part of the fee-waiver scheme), he said.
A coaching centre to help the community students prepare for competitive exams will be set up in Pune.
The government will pay fees of students who seek guidance and training in other institutes, the cabinet sub-committee decided.
Devendra Fadnavis had said last week that a special session of the Maharashtra legislature would be convened to pass "a law or a resolution" for reservation to the Marathas.
He had appealed for peace in the state, rocked by violent protests over the quota issue, and announced withdrawal of certain cases against members of the community.
The politically influential Maratha community, constituting around 30 per cent of the state's population, has been demanding 16 per cent reservation in government jobs and education.
The community had earlier taken out silent marches across the state to highlight their demands, prominently for reservation.
However, their latest round of agitation has taken a violent turn.