Maratha quota Bill, ATR to be tabled in Maharashtra Legislature

Mumbai | The much-awaited draft Bill which provides for reservation to the Maratha community will be tabled for passage in the Maharashtra Legislature on Thursday.

A two-page action taken report (ATR) on the State Backward Class Commission’s (SBCC) recommendations on Maratha quota will also be tabled along with the Bill, a government source said.

The meeting of the state Cabinet sub-committee, headed by Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil, over the issue was held late Wednesday evening after being postponed twice in the day.

Patil had said in the Legislative Council on Wednesday that the ongoing Winter session of the state Legislature may be extended, if needed, to pass the Bill which provides for reservation to the Maratha community.

According to the current schedule, the Winter session, which began in Mumbai on November 19, will conclude on November 30. The previous Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) coalition government had granted 16 per cent reservation to Marathas in jobs and education, but it was stayed by the Bombay High Court.

The Opposition Congress and the NCP have been demanding tabling of reports of the SBCC recommending quota for Marathas and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences’ report on reservation to the Dhangar (shepherd) community.

The Dhangar community has been pressing for reservation under the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category. The Cabinet sub-committee was formed last week to study the SBCC’s report on reservation for Marathas in government jobs and education and take a decision on it. The government had received the report on November 15 and it was placed before the Cabinet on November 18 for approval.

“The government proposes to provide reservation to Marathas under a new category, called the ‘Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC)’, without disturbing the existing quotas for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs),” the source said.

The Maratha community, which constitutes over 30 per cent of the state’s population, has been demanding quota for a long time and its agitation for the same in July and August this year had taken a violent turn.

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