Mumbai: For the first time, students applying for admissions to the First Year Junior College (FYJC) can apply under the Maratha quota reservation. Students belonging to the Maratha quota will have benefits like low cut off percentage in non-minority colleges. Currently, 16 per cent seats are reserved under the socially and educationally backward classes (SEBC) category. This category is applicable for Maratha students who can apply by showing a caste certificate. This decision has come to make special provisions for those belonging to the Maratha community as there are large number of students from this community in Maharashtra.

Though the category is named as SEBC, this quota is applicable only for Maratha students, according to the state education department. A senior officer of the department said, “Only Maratha students can apply under the SEBC category. Students can use this quota to secure admissions in non-minority junior colleges. While in minority colleges, students can apply for specific minority based on caste.”

Students from the open category revealed, this quota is an indirect way to favour a certain caste. Umesh Deshmukh, a student, said, “The SEBC quota specifically states it is for socially and educationally backward classes, then why is it applicable only for Maratha students? The state wants to favour the majority from the junior, FYJC level itself. This is unfair for students from open category.”

Teachers claimed, most of the colleges have minority quota so the SEBC reservation should not affect students. Parvati Jain, a teacher, said, “Most of the junior colleges of the city have 50 per cent reservations seats for minority quota, based on various caste. Students can seek admissions under this quota for getting benefits. They need not worry about the SEBC quota, as its not applicable in the minority colleges.”