The state government has decided to evolve a comprehensive socio-economic model to tackle growing unrest within the Maratha community. Apart from providing reservation to the Maratha community in jobs and employment, it recommended the need of a model that would pave the way for opening up private education institutions for accommodating concerns of the community which constitutes 33 per cent of the state population.
Breaking his silence on the sensitive issue, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, in an interview at Sahayadri Doordarshan (state broadcast) unravelled the roadmap for community welfare and warned against vested interests from trying to create social unrest to dislodge him in Maharashtra.
Fadnavis on Friday said, “It is my ardent appeal to the community organising rallies to please come forward for dialogue with my government. To provide help to those who are economically backward among the Marathas, we are planning to revive Anna Saheb Patil Corporation.”
Doling out statistics, he said, “If we consider 16 per cent reservation in engineering sector it would generate only 900 seats in government-owned institutions where total seats don’t exceed 6000. Whereas, number of seats in private engineering colleges is 1.87 lakh. If we can set aside certain quota for Maratha community in private colleges on the lines of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes, it would serve the poor students in the community. Similarly, moves should be worked across sectors of education. Similarly, if 50,000 jobs are generated, reservation would help only 7,500 Marathas. But there is need to provide larger employment avenues outside the government sector.
Although he did not name NCP, he indicated that mismanagement and rampant corruption in the cooperative sector played a critical role in serving interests of only a handful at the cost of long neglect of the community which was unfortunate. “My government is committed to tackle the corruption in cooperative and punish those guilty,” he assured.
The chief minister said through skill development the government would provide a mechanism to impart training and open up job avenues for generation next amongst Marathas.
Urging people to exercise caution, Fadnavis said, “There is an attempt by vested interests to polarise the state with an ulterior motive to dislodge me. I can understand a lot of people are disgruntled because of my chief ministerial post.” He said, “I appreciate the silent rallies and completely associate with the Maratha communities anguish which is reflected in the rallies.”
While stating that established Maratha leaders who ruled the state for six decades failed to serve the community, he said, “This is evident if we glance at statistics and progress in field of agriculture, education or cooperative sectors.”
“Despite spending Rs 70,000 crore in irrigation, previous governments (Congress-NCP) managed to create only 0.1 per cent irrigation potential in 15 years. At 18 per cent irrigation potential, how can we expect 45 to 50 per cent people to survive on agriculture for livelihood.”
Referring to criticism about failure of government to give reservation to Marathas, he said, “The question I would ask to those accusing us what have they done to serve the community. Why did they not resolve Maratha reservation in the last 15 years. After taking charge, I have set up a committee under Vinod Tawde (minister) and collected 70 important documents out of 1200 since the era of Chattrapati Shivaji to strengthen our case for Maratha reservation in court.
Referring to the demand for reviewing the Atrocities Act, the chief minister said, “There is unanimity across sections including Dalit leaders that Atrocities Act should not be misused by anybody. One can collectively address problems. But I appeal Dalit leaders not to resort to counter rallies against the Maratha rallies. We have to ensure social harmony.”