21.22% Maratha population in Maharashtra below poverty line: Maratha quota report | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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21.22% Maratha population in Maharashtra below poverty line: Maratha quota report

Feb 21, 2024 11:52 AM IST

Additionally, the report indicates that 94% of farmer suicides reported in the state are from the Maratha community, and 84% of the community falls under the non-creamy layer category

The Maharashtra Legislature unanimously passed a bill reserving 10% of the seats in educational institutions and the same proportion of government jobs for people from the Maratha community.

HT has scrutinised the report while the state hasn’t made its findings public yet. (ANI photo)
HT has scrutinised the report while the state hasn’t made its findings public yet. (ANI photo)

The report, which has been accessed by HT, submitted by the State Commission of Maharashtra for Backward Class (SCMBC) argues for 10% reservation for Marathas in education and jobs by proving the backwardness of the community on social, educational, and economic grounds.

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The report states that the Maratha population in the state is 28%, with 21.22% of them living below the poverty line, significantly higher than the state average of 17.4%.

Additionally, the report indicates that 94% of farmer suicides reported in the state are from the Maratha community, and 84% of the community falls under the non-creamy layer category, with an annual income of less than 8 lakh.

Also Read: Maha assembly clears 10% Maratha quota bill

HT has scrutinised the report while the state hasn’t made its findings public yet.

While evaluating the community based on social, economic, and educational parameters, the report assigns 170 points out of 250, deeming it suitable for reservation based on backwardness.

The questionnaire, consisting of 154 questions, was divided into three subcategories with 110 points for social backwardness, 80 for educational backwardness, and 60 for economic backwardness.

The community scored 50 out of 60 points on economic backwardness, 40 out of 80 on educational parameters, and 80 out of 110 on social parameters.

The report also links the failure of crops and land fragmentation as reasons for the declining income of community members, many of whom are farmers.

The SCMBC conducted a survey of 1.58 lakh households from January 23 to February 2, with the assistance of 1.96 lakh enumerators using 154 questions.

The report highlights lower educational attainment levels among the Maratha community, especially in secondary, higher, and professional education. It emphasizes that economic backwardness serves as a significant barrier to education, often leading to poverty.

The report notes that while 18.09% of people from the open category (which includes Marathas) are below the poverty line, the percentage among Marathas is 21.22%, exceeding the state average.

Furthermore, it indicates inadequate representation of Marathas in employment across various sectors.

Regarding the economic status of the community, the report asserts that the vulnerable Maratha community fares even worse compared to open category communities.

It highlights decades of poverty due to agriculture being their primary source of income, which has dwindled over the years.

The report notes the community’s dependence on menial jobs and mentions that they are often looked down upon. It points out the decline in agriculture’s profitability, land fragmentation, and loss of traditional dignity associated with agriculture.

The report also underscores the community’s struggle to access respectable jobs and employment due to illiteracy and lack of higher education. It mentions a small percentage of the community pursuing higher education and professional courses due to limited entry sources.

The SCMBC report submitted in 2018 by its head MG Gaikwad had estimated the Maratha population at 30%, with 76.86% of households engaged in the agriculture sector.

The SEBC reservation provided by the Devendra Fadnavis government to Marathas was based on this report. It noted that from 2013 to 2018, 23.56% of Maratha farmers died by suicide out of the total number of suicides during that period.

The report also provided statistics on educational levels and income among Marathas.

Sachin Rajurkar, general secretary of Rashtriya OBC Mahasagh, expressed skepticism about the data collated by the SCMBC, particularly regarding the high percentage of farmer suicides attributed to the Maratha community.

Balasaheb Sarate-Patil, one of the petitioners for the Maratha quota, cited both the Gaikwad and Shukre commission reports, which have provided comprehensive data supporting the backwardness of Marathas.

He emphasized the significance of the Shukre Commission report in establishing the community’s backwardness, particularly in light of constitutional amendments.

He argued that the new law passed by the Maharashtra government has subjected existing OBC reservations to legal scrutiny due to the lack of reviewed backwardness.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Surendra P Gangan is Senior Assistant Editor with political bureau of Hindustan Times’ Mumbai Edition. He covers state politics and Maharashtra government’s administrative stories. Reports on the developments in finances, agriculture, social sectors among others.

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