WITH MARATHAS being declared a socially, educationally and economically backward class by the State Backward Class Commission, around 85 per cent of the population is now entitled to constitutional benefits under articles 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Thursday. The two articles deal with equality of opportunity in matters of public employment and education.
“As Marathas have been declared a socially, educationally and economically backward class, the total percentage of the state population entitled to constitutional benefits under the articles 15(4) and 16(4) will be around 85 per cent,” the CM said while reading out the objectives behind the Maratha quota Bill in the Assembly.
He added: “This is an extraordinary situation demanding extraordinary solution within the constitutional
Marathas comprise 30 per cent of the state’s 11.40 crore population.
The Bill stated that according to the SSBC, around 76.86 per cent of Maratha families have been found to be engaged in agriculture and agriculture labour. While around six per cent of Marathas are in government or semi-government services, most of these positions belong to Group D state services.
Seventy per cent of the families are found to be residing in “kachha” dwellings. Only 35.39 per cent of the Maratha families have personal tap water connections, it has added.
“Around 31.79 per cent of Maratha families are found to be relying on traditional sources of firewood, cow dung and agriculture wastage as the fuel for cooking,” the SBCC report on the community has said.
It has added that during 2013-18, 2,152 (23.56 per cent) Maratha farmers have committed suicide as against the statewide figure of 13,368. Moreover, migration of Marathas from rural to urban areas has picked up in the last 10 years. “One member from around 21 per cent of Maratha families migrated to urban areas in search of livelihood, landing them in labour intensive lowly occupations like mathadi, hamal, dabbewala, maid servant, port workers etc. It shows the depleting social status of the Marathas…”
On the status of women, the Bill stated that 88.81 per cent of Maratha women are involved in physical labour.
On the educational front, the SBCC study found that while 13.42 per cent of the Marathas are illiterate, 35.31 per cent have completed primary schooling, 43.79 per cent have cleared HSC and SSC, 6.71 per cent are undergraduates and postgraduates and 0.77 per cent have pursued technical and professional courses.
When it came to economic status, the Bill stated that around 93 per cent of the Maratha families have an annual income of Rs 1 lakh, much below the average income of a middle class family. The percentage of Below Poverty Line families is 37.28 per cent against the state average of 24.2 per cent.
Moreover, while the percentage of landless and marginal farmers (less than 2.5 acres) is found to be around 71 per cent among the Maratha families, the percentage of big farmers holding about 10 acres is only 2.7 per cent.