The Maharashtra Legislature on November 29, 2018 passed a Bill granting 16 per cent reservations to the politically influential Maratha community demanding quotas in education and jobs amidst slogans of "Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki Jai". The Action Taken Report tabled in the legislature earlier by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the government proposed to give 16 per cent reservations to the Marathas under a new Social and Economically Backward Class (SEBC) category
The Bill was passed unanimously without any discussion, marking a major political achievement in an election year. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the relevant formalities for implementing the quotas would be completed before the model code of conduct for the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections was enforced
Top leaders of Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and other political parties greeted the development terming it as "a historic day for the Marathas" who comprise nearly 30 per cent of the state's population
Maratha leaders and activists who have been holding protests at the Azad Maidan welcomed the passage of the Bill and raised slogans of Shivaji and "Jai Marathas" as they sang and danced and also distributed sweets
Since the Maratha reservations come under a new SEBC category, they will not affect the existing quotas for Scheduled Castes, Schedules Tribes and Other Backward Classes (SC/ST/OBCs)
The State Backward Classes Commission (SBCC) had submitted its report to the state government on November 15, 2018, recommending 16 per cent quotas for Marathas under the SEBC category, without disturbing other existing quotas.
The ATR described the Marathas comprise a socially and economically backward class who are without adequate reservations in education and government jobs. Accordingly, they are entitled to the quota benefits enshrined in the Articles 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution and the government could initiate suitable measures to address the issues
The previous Congress-NCP regime had also made a similar 16 per cent quota proposal but it was stayed by the Bombay High Court. The Marathas have been organising massive silent protests all over the state for nearly two years, including agitations in July-August which had turned violent.
In August 2018, the Mumbai police were on high alert and made sure that the peaceful protest didn't turn violent. Barricades were put in order to avoid any untoward incidents that could arise from the peaceful protest. In Mumbai, Shiv Sena legislator Prakash Ambitkar attempted to enter the Maharashtra legislature building but was prevented by the security, and he sat on a dharna opposite the gates
"Ek maratha lakh maratha" was on the top of the voice as members of the Maratha Kranti Morcha staged a peaceful protest in Bandra East amidst police bandobast in August 2018
The following are some images from the protests that took place in August 2018. As evident, the Maratha protest was peaceful as heavy security was deployed across the city of Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra. Government offices, where the staff was on the strike over a salary hike, did not suffer much. While the suburban trains and BEST buses were operating as usual
While the protest was a peaceful one in Mumbai the situation across the state, however, was volatile, with road traffic disrupted and schools remaining shut. Protesters also threw stones at the office of ex-chief minister Ashok Chavan-controlled newspaper Satyaprabha in Nanded and broke its window panes
The Maratha community paid tributes to the 21 people who have committed suicide for the cause of Maratha reservation across the state by wearing black badges, armband, and t-shirts during the peaceful protest in Mumbai
Marathas, a politically influential community that constitutes around 30 percent of the state's population, have been demanding 16 percent reservation. The community members had earlier taken out silent marches across the state to highlight their demands, prominent among them being that of reservation since the past few years
The Maratha community has produced 10 out of 18 chief ministers. Collective tenure of chief ministers from the Maratha community spans over 30 years since the state was formed in 1960. The Maratha chief ministers of the past included political heavyweights such as the first chief minister Y B Chavan, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, Vasantdada Patil, Shankarrao Chavan and Vilasrao Deshmukh
Maratha voters can influence poll outcomes in around 200 of the 288 Assembly constituencies in Maharashtra. However, the Maratha organisations seeking quota have always averred that its dominance is confined to a small section of the community. A large chunk of Maratha population, dependent chiefly on farming, has been backward both socially and economically, the quota protesters have maintained
Ahead of 2014 Assembly polls, then Congress-NCP government led by Prithviraj Chavan, also a Maratha, granted 16 per cent reservation to the community alongwith a five per cent quota for the Muslims through an ordinance. The ordinance, however, was stayed by the Bombay High Court
The campaign for quota intensified after a 14-year-old Maratha girl from Kopardi village in Ahemadnagar district was raped and murdered in July 2016. Subsequently, over 50 silent marches were undertaken by Maratha organisations across the state in 2016 and 2017. The agitation for quota in July 2018 took a violent turn with protesters slamming the government for delay in fulfilling the demand
As much as 37.28 per cent Marathas are living below poverty line (BPL) and 93 per cent families from the community have annual income of less than Rs 1 lakh, according to the State Backward Class Commission's recent report. Over 76 per cent of Maratha families are dependent on agriculture and farm labour, and the community has only six per cent representation in government and semi-government services, it said. However, the community has got it's due with the recent judgement
The Maharashtra Legislature unanimously passed a Bill granting 16 per cent reservations to the politically influential Maratha community demanding quotas in education and jobs. The Bill was passed unanimously without any discussion, marking a major political achievement in an election year. Here's what you need to know about the bill that was passed, the protests and the Maratha community
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