1,000-cr schemes to woo Dhangars ahead of Maharashtra polls
The community which accounts for 10% of the population enjoys reservation under Nomadic Tribes-C category.Updated: Jul 31, 2019 05:12 IST
Ahead of the Assembly elections expected to be held in October, the state on Tuesday attempted to woo the Dhangar (shepherd) community by extending social, educational and economic schemes worth ₹1,000 crore and an organisation for communities covered under Other Backward Class (OBC), Special Backward Class (SBC), Vimukt Jati and Nomadic Tribes (VJNT) for their social and economic welfare.
The community which accounts for 10% of the population enjoys reservation under Nomadic Tribes-C category. After the Devendra Fadnavis government failed to give reservation to Dhangars, despite promising it five years ago, the Maharashtra government attempted to pacify them by launching 13 new schemes for the community. The state cabinet on Tuesday gave its nod to the schemes, which include scholarships, fundings for start-ups, training for employment in Armed forces and police force, making land available for goat farming, residential schools for students from the community and 10,000 houses to the homeless. Of the Rs.1,000 crore, a budgetary allocation of Rs. 500 crore has been made in the current fiscal.
“We are committed to reservation for the Dhangar community and are moving towards it. Before the reservation is given, we want to ensure the community gets all facilities available to tribals,” said Other Backward Class, VJNT minister Sanjay Kute.
The state government also decided to set up Mahajyoti, an organisation that will work for the social and educational development of the population from the OBC, Special Backward Class and VJNT.
As then state BJP chief, Fadnavis, in 2014, had assured the community of reservation in the first cabinet meet after the BJP-led government was formed. The government had appointed Tata Institute of Social Studies (TISS) to study the backwardness of the community and check if Dhangars in the state are the same as Dhagads that get reservation as tribals in other states. The report, submitted a year ago, said the two communities have no similarity.
The report submitted by the TISS has not been approved by the Tribal Advisory Committee. The proposed reservation to the community has also been challenged in the Bombay high court.
Reservation for them has been opposed by the scheduled tribes, as they feel it will shrink their existing reservation.
Turning down the need of reservation to Muslims, Kute said the community will be the highest beneficiary of the 10% quota passed by the Central government for Economically Weaker Section.
He said that besides the quota, various castes from the community have been covered under OBC and Scheduled Caste.
First Published: Jul 31, 2019 05:12 IST