Walking Maratha quota tightrope, Maha govt reaches out to OBCs
    (EDS: Updating with fresh inputs)
    Mumbai, Aug 7 (PTI) The BJP-led Maharashtra government
today announced various measures for the OBCs who are
apparently nervous over the likely inclusion of the Marathas
in the OBC category for reservation in jobs.
    Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has announced that
Rs 500 crore will be given to the OBC Corporation in the next
two budgets to provide employment opportunities to youths from
the OBC community.
    He made the announcement at the third national
convention of the Rashtriya OBC Mahasangh held in Mumbai.
    He said the government has sent a recommendation to
the Central government for honouring Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and
his wife Savitribai Phule---the social reformers of the 19th
Century--with Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian
    The announcement came against the backdrop of
reports that the Other Backward Classes are against the
attempts to include the Marathas in the OBC category for quota
    "An amount of Rs 500 crore will be given to the OBC
Corporation in the next two budgets to provide employment
opportunities and assist our youths from the community,"
Fadnavis said.
    He also said the government would construct hostels
for OBC students in 19 districts, and funds will be made
    "In no way, the seats meant for the OBCs would be
given to any other individual (from non-OBC category). The
seats meant for the OBCs will go to OBCs only. We are
committed to provide employment to OBCs as per the
quota given in the reservation," said Fadnavis.
    He said the state government has set up a separate
Ministry for OBCs.
    "I am also happy that after 70 years of struggle, our
Parliament yesterday passed a bill to provide Constitutional
status to the National Backward Classes Commission," Fadnavis
    The OBCs had reportedly demanded that their quota be
raised from the current 19 per cent considering that they make
up 52 per cent of the state's population.
    Fadnavis also announced that his government would
assess the extent of representation given to the OBCs in jobs
till date and take steps to address the backlog, if any, in a
time-bound manner.
    In Maharashtra, the OBCs enjoy 17 per cent quota at
    Fadnavis suggested that there was no exact information
available regarding the actual representation of the OBCs in
jobs till now, and said the state government would come out
with relevant details.
    "If the representation is below the percentage of
quota alloted, then the backlog would be cleared in a
time-bound manner," the chief minister said.
    The politically-influential Maratha community,
constituting around 30 per cent of Maharashtra's population,
has been agitating to press their demand for reservation in
jobs and education under the OBC category.
    At present, the quota for various castes and
communities in Maharashtra is capped at 52 per cent, with
Scheduled Castes (13%), Scheduled Tribes (7%), OBCs (19%);
Nomadic, Denotified Tribes and Special Backward Category
together at 13%.
    The OBCs had reportedly sought a comprehensive
socio-economic and caste census in Maharashtra to determine
the population of each community.
    Speaking on the occasion, Maharashtra Congress
president Ashok Chavan appealed to Fadnavis to take yearly
follow-up on implementation of the announcements made by him.
    "I would also request the organisers of the (OBC)
convention to review whether the announcements made from this
platform are implemented or not...the government should accept
the demands made by the communities and not ignore them,"
Chavan demanded.
    The former chief minister said various governments in
the past had announced awarding reservations in the past (to
different communities), but wondered about actual
implementation of the promises.
    Chavan said many people have been expressing concerns
that the current situation may lead to a conflict among
various communities, and pitched for communal harmony. PTI ENM