In a major turnaround, the Maharashtra Cabinet, on Wednesday, scrapped its own decision to provide reservation benefits to the agitated Maratha community under the central government act, ensuring 10 per cent quota for the Economically Backward Section (EBC). The cabinet dropped it from the minutes, following strong opposition from the Maratha community, as they insisted that the state government should make all efforts for the restoration of 12 per cent quota in education and 13 per cent in government jobs under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018, which was recently stayed by the Supreme Court.
The cabinet, last week, had decided to extend the 10 per cent reservation meant for EWS to the Maratha community to protect the quota in jobs and college admissions. The community has also been assured that the process to secure the quota would be simplified. The EWS quota is meant for the people with the annual family income below Rs 8 lakh. The cabinet was clear that the 10 per cent quota to the Maratha community under EBS will be in force till the Supreme Court decides the fate of the reservation under the SEBC Act, 2018.
Minister of Public Works Ashok Chavan, who heads the cabinet sub-committee on Maratha reservation, informed the cabinet today that the decision has been dropped from the minutes. Rajya Sabha Member of the Parliament (MP) Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje had met Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday night, demanding the withdrawal of the cabinet decision, saying that it will not benefit the Maratha community.
Further, a couple of pro-Maratha reservation organisations had objected to the application procedure of the EBS quota, citing that students and job seekers will lose and not get any benefit, as they have already made online applications under the SEBC category. Maratha Kranti Morcha (MKM) coordinator Vinod Patil, who is the respondent in the Supreme Court in the Maratha quota case, told the Free Press Journal, “Maratha youth who are seeking jobs will lose at least three years if they are covered under the EBS quota as there is no option of age relaxation. Besides, youth have made an online application under the SEBC category. They should have been allowed to change it to the EBS category. There was no clarity and, therefore, there was opposition to the provision of quota under EBS,” he said.
Meanwhile, the cabinet’s decision to provide funds to the various state undertakings for the development and welfare of Maratha and OBC communities will continue to be in place.