Minor orphans to get 1 per cent quota in education and jobs

Updated: 18 January, 2018 11:07 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

The decision will benefit minor orphans and those who move out of orphanages and child care institutes once they attain the age of 18 years

Amrita Karvande, who approached CM Fadnavis with her plea, and lead to the decision.
Amrita Karvande, who approached CM Fadnavis with her plea, and lead to the decision.

Orphans in Maharashtra who do not have any documentary proof to establish their socio-economic credentials, will now be given a quota of 1 per cent in education and jobs. The state Cabinet took a decision to this effect in its weekly meeting on Wednesday. The resolution came after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis met a female candidate who has cracked a state service examination, but did not make it to the merit list because she didn't have a supporting document that could get her the job, despite the good qualifying marks. The incident that occurred some 10 days ago became a trigger, following which a proposal was prepared and brought before the Cabinet to get a nod. Maharashtra is the first state to have such a quota.

Quota in open category
Orphans will have their share in the open category. This means their quota will not disturb existing categories. "This will secure the future of orphans and help their rehabilitation," CM Fadnavis said in a statement. The decision will benefit minor orphans and those who move out of orphanages and child care institutes once they attain the age of 18 years and then pursue further studies. Since they don't have any quota they are denied welfare benefits in education and jobs.

Sensitive decision
Child and welfare minister Pankaja Munde said the proposal was historic, and will go a long way in reconnecting orphans to the mainstream. Senior BJP leader and chairperson of Maharashtra Women's Commission Vijaya Rahatkar welcomed the decision. "It was quick and very sensitive. This is a leading example for the entire country," she said, adding that the government should now take more proactive steps to form a special policy for orphans who are left to fend for themselves after 18 years. "The government should increase the age cap to 21 years from 18 years for leaving orphanages," she said.

Thank you CM,
says Amrita
Amrita Karvande, who approached CM Fadnavis with her plea, was very happy to hear the decision. She thanked the CM and his Cabinet. She is bedridden after undergoing a surgery on her nose. Despite her indisposition she talked to mid-day through her friend from Pune where she is recuperating. "When the CM's officer on special duty Shrikant Bharatiya took me to him, the CM gave me an audience and understood the larger problem that orphans like me face after getting out of orphanages," she said. "I'm also thankful to the media like mid-day for highlighting our plight," she said.

'Will others get it too?'
While the decision was welcomed widely, there was a voice of dissent from a well-known activist, Shankarji Papalkar, who runs an orphanage not only for the abled, but also for mentally and physically challenged children. He feared that the government might be forced to withdraw the policy because of its faulty nature. "All and sundry will now come forward to get certified as orphans. There are hundreds of children who are abandoned by their parents and raised by orphanages. Mentally and physically disabled children constitute a large number of this category," he said.

Papalkar said the definition of orphans needed to be changed to extend benefits to children who cannot be rehabilitated without specific support. "What about children found on streets, who run away from home and are certified as orphans by law enforcement agencies? We need to have a wider policy in which mentally and physically disabled children too get benefits, primarily because they cannot take regular education and cannot get jobs," he said. The activist from Amravati district has been making sincere efforts to rehabilitate children without much support from the government.

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First Published: 18 January, 2018 11:01 IST

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