The Maharashtra government will set up a massive network of skill development training centres across rural Maharashtra to channel the unrest amongst rural youths across sections including the Maratha community, to provide sustainable sources of employment.
The state government has decided to tackle problems confronting the generation next, who have had taken to streets recently to protest against the brutal Kopardi rape incident. Although the current rallies taking place across the state are citing the rape case as reason, the mobilisation of youths is seen as an outcome of growing aspirations related to economic empowerment in the competitive age.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “I am deeply moved by the silent protest which displays both the might and also the great restraint by the community. My government is committed to address problems and challenges faced by the youths. We have already initiated several policy measures and they would reach the remotest villages to ensure wholistic economic development across caste-community.”
The ministry of education, ministry of skill development, ministry of agriculture and ministry of industries will work out a plan to streamline district-wise centres based on potential of agro-industries.
The state has decided to address the root cause of growing protests within the community, especially generation next and provide them with concrete short and long term solutions.
“Skill development has great potential to provide a platform and make youths self reliant. Our policy is not confined to uplift of urban youths but specially designed to cater to requirements of the rural economy and agro-industries. The youths will lead the development,” said Fadnavis.
Shiv Sangram Maratha leader Vinayak Mete said, “There is a misconception that Marathas being a ruling class is economically prosperous. On the contrary, political and economic empowerment is confined to only 10 to 15 per cent. Whereas, there are a sizeable percentage of Marathas living in rural Maharashtra who are poor. They also work as daily wagers in fields.”
Several Maratha leaders, on the condition of anonymity, said, “Almost 15 per cent of the 33 per cent Maratha community can be described as economically backward. The shrinking land holding making agriculture unsustainable has forced new age Maratha youths to explore alternative employment.”
Two significant policy decisions, which the government has worked out, relates to better economic avenues for generation next in rural Maharashtra. An internal report of the government points that the primary reason for the Maratha community seeking reservation is to ensure higher opportunities in education and employment. Marathas constitute 33 per cent of the state population and have been the ruling dominant class of state.
However, the last five years saw the community demanding reservation in education and employment. Union Minister for Social Justice Ramdas Athavale said, “I have always believed that economically backward amongst all forward castes including Marathas should be given some incentives in jobs and education… albeit without disturbing the ongoing reservation accorded to Dalits and tribals.