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India Inc. frowns on Maharashtra quota for Marathas, Muslims

Mumbai: India Inc. on Wednesday raised concerns over the Maharashtra government's decision to extend reservation in education and jobs for Marathas and Muslims in the state.

"The Indian Merchants Chamber (IMC) is concerned about the manner in which the reservation issue is being promoted and handled. Even after 67 years, we have not been able to address the fundamental issue of reservation," said chamber president Prabodh Thakker.

Terming the new mechanism as appearing to be "more political rather than having socio-economic content", Thakker said the IMC was not appreciative of the current announcement of reservations in Maharashtra.

However, he made it clear the IMC supports the government stance that weaker sections should be given a helping in skill development. "IMC will lead from the front as an enabler," he said.

For achieving this objective, Thakker urged the government to create a positive environment for creating more job opportunities and educational institutions to meet the gap between demand and supply, rather than resorting to reservations.

He expressed the IMC's readiness to hold a dialogue with the political establishment which could help "promote meritocracy in the society for all-round benefit and growth".

The IMC highlighted the issue in the wake of the state government giving 16 percent reservation for Marathas and and five percent to Muslims in the state, based on various criteria, with a view to draw them into the socio-economic mainstream.

This is in addition to the existing 52 percent reservation for various other groups and communities, taking the total extent of reservation in education and government jobs to a whopping 73 percent, leaving the rest for the general categories.

While announcing the reservation last month, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan dismissed the contention that it was politically motivated and said the process was initiated a decade ago.

Minority Affairs Minister M.A. Naseem Khan termed the move as "historic and revolutionary" which would greatly contribute to the development and inclusion as well as empower the backward Muslim community socially and economically in the state.

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