Maratha survey done, commission aims to submit report on quota in less than a month | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

Maratha survey done, commission aims to submit report on quota in less than a month

Feb 04, 2024 07:08 AM IST

The Maharashtra government has started taking steps to restore the Maratha quota, following the completion of a survey of open categories. The Maharashtra State Commission for Backward Classes is expected to submit its report in the next couple of weeks, paving the way for the government to either enact a new law or approach the apex court with new findings. The survey was conducted across the state with the help of revenue, education, and health machinery. The government is planning to enact a fresh law for the quota based on the findings of the survey.

Mumbai: As the survey of the open categories, including the Maratha community ended on Friday, the state government has started further steps for the restoration of the quashed Maratha quota. The Maharashtra State Commission for Backward Classes (MSCBC) is expected to submit its report in the next couple of weeks, paving the way for the government to take steps to either enact a new law or to approach the apex court with new findings.

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Over 1.57 lakh enumerators conducted the survey of 2.73 lakh households across the state, with most of the divisions and districts crossing the mark of 90%. Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar division comprising eight districts of central Maharashtra saw the highest response at 97%, followed by Nagpur and Konkan where 95% of each of the households stipulated were surveyed. Pune and Amravati divisions comprising the districts of western Maharashtra and Vidarbha recorded 90% each in terms of the households targeted for the survey, according to the data submitted to the government by district machinery late on Friday night.

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The surveys were conducted across the state from January 23 with the help of revenue, education and health machinery. The MSCBC had set the target of a specific number of households in each of the districts based on the population of the open category people. The enumerators found many households closed or the citizens refusing to participate in the survey.

“The MSCBC will now review the data collected to prove the backwardness of the Maratha community on social, educational and economic grounds. The commission has set the target of submitting its report in the next two to three weeks so that the government could act upon it before the code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections is announced. There could be a fresh law to accord the quota or the state could approach the apex court afresh with the findings of the empirical data,” said an official from the general administration department.

The 3-member committee of three retired judges Dilip Bhosale, MG Gaikwad and Sandeep Shinde met on Saturday and reviewed the steps taken by the government. The committee is expected to advise the government on legal aspects related to the reservation.

The officer said that the state government would take a call on convening a special session announced by the chief minister once the report was submitted. The state government is planning to enact a fresh law for the quota to Marathas in education and jobs on the lines given through the Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act in 2018. “It has been quashed by the Supreme Court and though we have moved in curative petition, nothing significant is expected to happen in it. Based on the fresh report of MSCBC a new act could be enacted, but for it, the report should underline ‘extraordinary and exceptional conditions’ in which the community is living. The sample for the surveys conducted by MSCBC is much bigger than done by the previous MSCBC led by MG Gaikwad commission in 2018 and thus we hope it will be a solid base for the reservation,” he added.

A section of the officials and experts appointed by the state government thinks that the percentage of the reservation would be reduced owing to the exercise of issuing Kunbi certificates to Marathas being implemented by the government. Another official said, “Since the government has claimed to have issued over 4 million Kunbi certificates to Marathas, and its cyclical effect may add multiple beneficiaries in the coming days, the population of Marathas ought to be dropped from 32% predicted when the 2018 law was enacted. As such, the percentage for the quota will also drop from 12% (education) and 13% (jobs) in 2018,” he added.

Sanjay Lakhe Patil, state coordinator, Maratha Kranti Morcha, has said that the survey is not going to serve any purpose. “Even if the state government decides to give a reservation by enacting the law afresh on the basis of the empirical data collected, it would be difficult to prove the community exceptionally and extraordinarily backward. If it is not proven through the data collated, the state government does not have the right to ditch the 50% cap of the reservation as per the Indra Sawhney judgement. The state can recommend the National Commission for Backward Classes to include any community in the backward classes on the basis of their backwardness. I have demanded with the MSCBC to recommend Marathas in central Maharashtra for their inclusion in OBCs as they have always been under the Nizam rule resulting in their backwardness,” he said.

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    Surendra P Gangan is Senior Assistant Editor with political bureau of Hindustan Times’ Mumbai Edition. He covers state politics and Maharashtra government’s administrative stories. Reports on the developments in finances, agriculture, social sectors among others.

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