- They will get 16% quota under socially, educationally backward category
- Maratha community had launched a huge stir for quota earlier this year
- Maratha community comprises about 30 per cent of the state's population
Marathas will now get 16 per cent reservation in jobs and education in Maharashtra -- a bill to this effect was passed unanimously today by the state assembly. This 16 per cent reservation is over and above the 50 per cent reservation allowed by the Supreme Court. Currently, 52 per cent seats in Maharashtra are reserved and the Maratha quota will take it to 68 per cent.
"I thank everyone for helping us pass this bill. The demand for Maratha reservation had been long standing. And based on the Backward Commission report, we have passed this bill," Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said.
Earlier this year, the Marathas, a politically influential community that forms 30 per cent of the state's population, were declared a backward community following their long-standing demand.
The report said compared to the 24 per cent population in the state that are below the poverty line, the BPL percentage among the Marathas stand high at 37%. Around 71 per cent are landless and marginal farmers, 70% live in kuccha houses.
The state government led by Devendra Fadnavis took action after protests by the community took a violent turn in July and August.
The upsurge of Marathas, a largely agrarian community to which a large section of Maharashtra politicians belong, had started last year, with its members contending that the politicians had not done much for them. The young brigade claimed because of quota and other benefits, even the Scheduled Castes and Tribes were better off.
The protests, which had started as silent marches, turned violent in July after a 28-year-old man committed suicide. A second protester had made a suicide attempt.
The community hit the road with a vengeance, scheduling frequent bandhs and daylong protests that was accompanied by violence in various pockets.
Arterial roads and train lines were choked, on occasion, vehicles and shops were set ablaze. The Maratha Kranti Morcha, the group spearheading the agitation, even called for the shutdown in Mumbai, the financial heart of the country.
Later, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis promised that the government will look into the matter. "A law was made for reservation to the community, but that was stayed by Bombay High Court," Mr Fadnavis said.