Maharashtra Assembly Passes Bill for 16% Reservation to Marathas
Image Used for Representational Purposes
Image Used for Representational Purposes(Photo: Suyash Desai/The Quint) 

Maharashtra Assembly Passes Bill for 16% Reservation to Marathas

Both the Houses of the Maharashtra Assembly on Thursday, 29 November, passed a Bill recommending a 16 percent reservation for the Maratha community in jobs and education under the 'Socially and Educationally Backward' category.

Currently 52 percent seats in Maharashtra are reserved and with quota given to Marathas, the reservation in the state goes up to 68 percent.

Also Read : The Maratha Movement Has Picked Up Steam – But Why Now?

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Maharashtra government, last week, formed a Cabinet sub-committee to study the State Backward Class Commission's (SBCC) report on reservation for Marathas in government jobs and education and take a decision on it. The government had received the report on 15 November and it was placed before the Cabinet on 18 November for approval, The Economic Times reported.

"We have completed the due procedure for Maratha reservation report and we're bringing a bill today. However, we are yet to complete the report for Dhangar reservation. A sub-committee is appointed and soon a report and Action Taken Report (ATR) will be tabled in this house," Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis said in the state Assembly, News18 reported.

The Maharashtra government tabled the action taken report (ATR) on the State Backward Class Commission's recommendations for Maratha quota on Thursday, reported The Times of India.

Findings of SBCC Report

  • 76.86 percent of Maratha families in Maharashtra are farmers and farm labourers.
  • Nearly 6 percent of Maratha population is employed in government or semi-government sector.
  • 70 percent of Maratha families live in kachha houses.
  • 31.79 percent of Maratha families use firewood for cooking.
  • 13,368 farmers killed themselves in Maharashtra between 2013-2018 of which 2,152 belonged to the Maratha community.
  • 73 percent of people belonging to the Maratha community are socially, financial and educational backward.
  • The State Backward Class Commission (SBCC) report has given 8 points out of 25 to the educational status of Maratha community.
  • The annual income of 93 percent of the people of Maratha community is Rs 1 lakh, which is less than the average income of a middle class family.

Why Do Marathas Want Reservation?

The Maratha community, which constitutes over 30 percent of the state’s population, had been demanding reservation by holding protests and silent marches for a long time. However, lately, the protests had often taken a violent turn.

The reason this community – which has historically dominated politics – was demanding reservation, was a collective feeling among the Marathas that they are lagging behind compared to where they were in the past, and where they have been vis-a-vis other communities.

Despite dominating the socio-economic landscape in the state, the Marathas feel threatened in a system where education and jobs matter more than farms. Furthermore, a vast majority of Marathas are small and marginal farmers.

According to a 2014 CSDS survey, almost 20 percent of Marathas were landless, and 15 percent owned less than three acres of land. Only about three percent of the farmers could be classified as ‘rich’.

What really irked the Marathas was that in the 2014 Assembly elections, the post of chief minister went to a non-Maratha, and the representation in the state cabinet fell from almost 50 percent to 15 percent.

(With inputs from News18, The Economic Times)

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