Mumbai: In the wake of ongoing state wide Maratha stir since Monday, the Chief Minister Devendra Devendra Fadnavis was quick to call a high-level meeting over the quota issue. Sources said, worrying that the stir may intensify in the coming days, Fadnavis reviewed the progress made by Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission over the quota issue.
This was evident from the fact that immediately after the meeting Chief Secretary Dinesh Jain issued directions to speed up implementation of the higher education scholarship fee scheme for poor families from Maratha community. Students from families earning an annual income of less than Rs 8 lakh are eligible for the scheme.
In May 2017, the Fadnavis government had informed the Bombay High Court that it was referring the matter to the panel headed by a retired judge. Sources said in the meeting with the Chief Minister, the panel said it needed at least four more months to submit a report. Once the Commission submits the report, the state government will have to go back to the high court. It is to be noted that the court has rejected the reservation demand twice in the past.
The Congress-NCP government first issued an ordinance to provide 16 percent quota to Marathas in jobs in 2014 but it was struck down by the high court. Later, when the Fadnavis government brought in a legislation to reinstate quota, the high court put a stay in April 2015. The government decided to refer the matter to the Commission.
During the Maratha protests in 2016, the government had announced a scheme for the self-employed and poor farmer producer groups. While 11,555 people applied for individual interest subvention under the scheme, said the report, applications of only 253 have so far been cleared, and disbursement made to only eight people. The group credit schemes have fared even more poorly.