Mumbai: Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday said the state government will follow the Tamil Nadu model to give 16% quota to Marathas as a “social and educationally backward class".
If the CM delivers on his promise, Maharashtra will offer 68% quota in education and government jobs to benefit Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBCs), other minor social groups, and the Marathas.
Talking to reporters on the eve of the winter session of Maharashtra legislature beginning Monday, Fadnavis said the state government had accepted the major recommendations of the State Commission for the Backward Classes, which submitted a favourable report on the Maratha community’s demand on 15 November.
“The Constitution provides for creating a special backward class. The report of the Commission says that the Maratha community is socially and economically backward. This is an extraordinary situation and calls for an extraordinary solution. We will give quota to the Maratha community on the lines of the Tamil Nadu model and we will do it as per the provisions of the Constitution," said Fadnavis.
He also clarified that the Marathas, who account for 32-35% of the state’s population, will be given reservation without disturbing the existing quota allocated to the OBCs and SC/STs. The CM added that the final decision on Maratha quota will be taken by the end of the two-week-long winter session. A ministerial sub-committee has been formed to study the Commission’s report in detail.
In Tamil Nadu, in addition to the constitutionally guaranteed reservations to the SC/STs and OBCs, the state government offers quota to several backward and specially backward castes and classes, which has taken the total percentage of quota to 69%. The Supreme Court in the 1990s had put a ceiling of 50% on quotas, and Tamil Nadu’s case is still pending before the apex court.
During the winter session, the state government will introduce 13 bills and discuss the drought across 151 tehsils in the state. He rejected the opposition charge that the government had not started drought-relief measures.
“Drought-relief measures have already been started. Unlike the Congress-NCP government, we have issued a proper government resolution that terms the situation as drought-hit and not scarcity-hit. We have asked for ₹ 7,500 crore drought relief from the centre, but we have started our own relief measures."