Seeking to allay fears about a potential reduction in the OBC quota for local bodies, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday said the state government is committed to the 27 per cent OBC reservation.
Fadnavis said there was no question of reviewing or altering the OBC quota in education, jobs or local bodies.
According to the provisions of the Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Act, 1961 and the Bombay Village Panchayat Act, 1958, there are set reservations for excluded groups. Posts are reserved for scheduled castes and tribes based on the proportion of their population, while there is a flat 27 per cent reservation for OBCs.
Under the arrangement, many times, the total reservation had crossed the 50 per cent limit mark. To address this issue, the state government had passed an ordinance last Wednesday stating that henceforth, OBCs would get reservation in panchayat samitis and zilla parishads based on their population share in the region.
This led to concerns that the 27 per cent OBC quota would decrease, and opposition parties hit out at the state government over the move.
Fadnavis dismissed these concerns as baseless and said no group would be “stripped of its rightful share”.
“In some districts, the number of seats for OBCs was reduced due to the 50 per cent quota limit. By introducing the ordinance, we have restored those affected seats. The reservation will not come down till this government is in power,” the CM told reporters, according to PTI.
There is no Constitutional provision of political quota for OBCs. However, every state government has been given the jurisdiction to determine the OBC quota in government jobs, education and elections to local bodies, such as panchayats and zilla parishads. However, this does not apply to the Assembly or Parliament.
Asked to comment on reports of non-availability of OBC population data, Fadnavis said they were incorrect.
“The Centre has detailed state-wise data on the caste census. The statistics are district-wise. We will get the data from the Centre to substantiate 27 per cent quota for OBCs in local body polls… The data would be furnished to Election Commission,” he said.