Marathas to get EWS benefits

To pacify the agitating members of the Maratha community, after the Supreme Court’s stay on the reservation, the State Cabinet on Tuesday extended benefits to the community under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota.

Till now the Maratha community was not eligible for benefits under the EWS quota as they were categorised as the Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) and were provided 16% reservation under that category. Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court ordered a stay on this while referring the matter to a larger Bench to decide on the constitutional validity of the reservation. The State government has filed a petition in the apex court seeking vacation on the stay.

“The stay on reservation has affected recruitment as well as admission process across the State. Therefore, it was decided to extend the benefits to the Maratha community under the EWS category until the stay on the Maratha reservation is vacated by the Supreme Court,” an official who attended the Cabinet meeting said.

Following the Centre’s decision to extend 10% reservation to the EWS, the previous Maharashtra government had implemented it in the run-up to the 2019 Assembly polls. After Tuesday’s decision, the Maratha community will become eligible for benefits under the category.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Cabinet also decided to implement the Rajashri Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Scholarship Scheme for the EWS category, which was earlier limited to the SEBC students. A sum of ₹600 crore has been sanctioned for the same and more funds will be made available if necessary. In addition, the Dr. Punjabrao Deshmukh Hostel Maintenance Allowance Scheme for the SEBC has been extended to the EWS.

A sum of ₹130 crore will be made available for Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Research Training and Human Development Institute set up for research, policy advocacy, training etc. for the socio-economic and educational development of Marathas, Maratha-Kunbis, Kunbi-Marathas, Kunbi community, and the families dependent on agriculture.

The capital for Annasaheb Patil Arthik Vikas Mahamandal, which provides financial aid to unemployed youth, has been increased by ₹400 crore. Family members of those who lost their lives in the agitation seeking reservation for the Maratha community will be given jobs in the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation, and a proposal will be acted upon within one month after receiving it. The process to take back cases filed against Maratha protesters has begun and only 26 cases remain.

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