Fad­navis talks sops for ag­i­tat­ing Marathas

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Shailesh Gaik­wad shailesh.gaik­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

Chief min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis on Fri­day an­nounced a slew of wel­fare mea­sures for the Maratha com­mu­nity that has been ag­i­tat­ing for months de­mand­ing reser­va­tions in jobs and ed­u­ca­tion, but ruled out a re­view or di­lu­tion of the atroc­i­ties act — another of the com­mu­nity’s de­mands.

Re­ply­ing to a de­bate in the state As­sem­bly, Fad­navis blamed the Op­po­si­tion for fail­ing to en­sure reser­va­tion for the com­mu­nity when it was in power. He in­sisted the state had pre­sented ev­i­dence to the Bom­bay high court to sup­port the cause of reser­va­tion, but also cat­e­gor­i­cally ruled out any di­lu­tion of the Sched­uled Caste and Sched­uled Tribe (Preven­tion of Atroc­i­ties) Act.

“Ne­ces­sity of the law can­not be de­nied,” he said, and added that as there have been al­le­ga­tions of mis­use of the atroc­i­ties act, a panel of leg­is­la­tors, with con­sists 40% from the SC and ST com­mu­ni­ties, will study these claims.

Fad­navis said the gov­ern­ment will set up hos­tels for Maratha stu­dents in every district and an in­sti­tute to con­duct re­search in ed­u­ca­tion and so­cial is­sues for the wel­fare of Maratha youth.

To make agri­cul­ture prof­itable — 65% of the com­mu­nity still de­pend on it — the state will in­vest in mech­a­ni­sa­tion and schemes for farm­ers. “Our pro­duc­tiv­ity is low, ex­cept for sug­ar­cane. We will in­vest in in­fra­struc­ture and mech­a­ni­sa­tion.” The An­nasa­heb Patil Cor­po­ra­tion for Eco­nom­i­cally Back­ward has been given Rs200 crore to pro­vide cap­i­tal and skill to Maratha en­trepreneur­s.

The CM, how­ever, ruled out reser­va­tions for the Mus­lim com­mu­nity, say­ing his gov­ern­ment did not favour reser­va­tion on the ba­sis of re­li­gion.

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