BILL Providing 16 per cent Reservation to Marathas Okayed by Maharashtra legislatures

THE Maharashtra Legislative  Assembly and  Legislative  Council have unanimously  approved the government’s Bill  providing 16 per cent reservations to the politically influential Maratha community under a new Social and Economically Backward Class category .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. 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.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 had been organising massive silent protests all over the state for nearly two years demanding reservation in jobs and educational institutions.

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