Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao Friday signed the Maratha reservation bill which was unanimously passed by both Houses of state assembly Thursday, ANI reported. The bill provides 16 per cent reservation to the community in government jobs and educational institutions, under a new, independent category called Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC). With the passage of the Bill, the total reservation in the state will rise to 68 per cent.
Tabling the bill in the State Assembly and Council, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Thursday said, “Based on the recommendations, conclusions and findings of the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission which analysed quantifiable data, the government has decided that the Maratha community is socially and educationally backward, and entitled to reservation benefits and advantages enshrined in Articles 15 (4) and 16 (4) of the Constitution.”
The government underlined that the 16 per cent reservation for Marathas would be in addition to the existing 52 per cent reservation for different sections in the state. Explaining the rationale for creating a separate category, Fadnavis said, “Enlisting Marathas… under the OBC category would have led to a catastropic scenario. It would have led to unwarranted repercussions.” He thanked all political parties for displaying unprecendented unity to ensure smooth passage of the Bill.
The Maharashtra State Reservation (of seats for admission in educational institutions in the state and for appointments in the public services and posts under the state) for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018, clearly states that the benefits will be confined to government jobs and educational institutions — including private educational institutions other than minority educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the state.
The quota will not extend to Marathas who are not in the creamy layer, or to elections to village panchayats, panchayat samitis, zilla parishads, municipal councils and municipal corporations etc.
The Marathas constitute 33 per cent of the state population and have been, politically, a dominant class for over six decades. According to the MSBCC’s report, the percentage of Marathas below poverty line was 37.28 per cent, higher than the 25 per cent base; the percentage of those with small and marginal land-holdings among Marathas was 62.78 per cent, much higher than the base 48.25 per cent which is considered for social-economic backwardness.