STUDENTS AND job aspirants belonging to the Maratha community will now be entitled to a share in 10 per cent reservation in education and jobs applicable to Economically Weaker Section (EWS).
Facing flak over its handling of the Maratha quota case in the Supreme Court, the Uddhav Thackeray-led state government on Wednesday allowed members of the community to avail benefit of the EWS quota.
The state cabinet approved a proposal for extending the EWS benefit to applicants from Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBC) in education and jobs.
While the previous Devendra Fadnavis-led government extended 12 per cent reservation in education and 13 per cent in jobs to the Maratha community, this was put on hold after the apex court, in September, passed an interim stay on the quota.
The Maratha community has been up in arms ever since with many blaming the MVA government for the stay. Earlier this week, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court expressed its dismay that the government had not yet decided whether the EWS reservation applies to those previously in SEBC category.
The decision comes at a time when Maratha groups have threatened a statewide stir. While the ruling alliance has assured the community that it will put up a strong defence in favour of reservation in the SC and accused the Opposition of politicising the issue, community members have been restive. The decision on Wednesday is expected to soothe some frayed nerves till the SC takes a final call on the matter.
The government has, however, imposed a rider that SEBC candidates availing EWS benefit will not be entitled to SEBC reservation in future. It has also clarified that the benefit is subject to the outcome of the SC case. Following Wednesday’s decision, eligible students and job aspirants will be issued EWS certificates if they fit stipulated income criteria.
MSRDC to oversee CM’s temple conservation project
The state cabinet also approved a proposal appointing Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation as the nodal agency for Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s flagship temple conservation project.
Stating that the Shiv Sena had not compromised on its Hindutva ideology, Thackeray, in the recently completed Winter Session of the state assembly, announced a project to conserve old and ancestral temples and sculptures. The government has earmarked Rs 101 crore for the project. A committee, headed by Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) Manoj Saunik, was formed on Wednesday to finalise the modalities of the project.
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