- Maharashtra Chief Minister accepts recommendations of special panel
- Panel had said Marathas are socially and educationally backward
- Panel was formed after huge stir by Maratha community in August
The Maratha community will get reservations in jobs and education, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced today following the recommendations of a special panel that said Marathas are socially and educationally backward.
The Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission, which submitted its report on the social and economic conditions of the Maratha community, recommended that reservation be given to them, without disturbing the quota granted to Other Backward Classes (OBC).
According to the panel's report, sources said, 25 per cent of the state's 32 per cent Maratha population qualified the criteria for backwardness. The panel was headed by a retired high court judge.
"We have accepted the suggestions of the panel," Mr Fadnavis said.
He added that there was no need to agitate anymore and asked them to be ready to celebrate on December 1 as his government would try to complete all legal formalities by the end of this month.
A bill will be moved in the state assembly during the winter session beginning Monday and quota benefits will be extended under a new category -- the "Socially and Educationally Backward Class".
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Maharashtra demanding reservations in jobs and education in early August. While Pune and Aurangabad witnessed violent protests, demonstrations also took place in Mumbai and Thane.
Maharashtra already has 52 per cent reservation and as the government is likely to give 16 per cent reservation to the Marathas, the total reservation in the state will be pushed to 68 per cent.
This, however, is far beyond the 50 per cent limit set by the Supreme Court for states.
"As it is an extraordinary situation, reservation above 50 per cent can be given, the way it was done in Tamil Nadu," the chief minister said.
At 69 per cent, Tamil Nadu is the only state in the country which has over 50 per cent reservation in employment and educational institutions, despite the Supreme Court order.
Earlier, the coalition government of the Congress and the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party had earmarked 16 per cent reservation for Marathas in 2014, but the Bombay High Court had stayed it. The Supreme Court also declined to cancel the high court order.
The powerful Maratha community is an important vote bank for all political parties in the state, and the BJP cannot afford to antagonise it ahead of the Lok Sabha and state assembly polls next year.