October 17, 2016 1:11:51 am
Following the Maharashtra government’s decision to provide Rs 1,000 crore fee waiver annually to students from economically backward communities across caste and religion, the organisers of the Maratha rallies have indicated they are ready to hold talks. Discussions could be held on a strategy for “constructive development” of the Marathas, sources said.
A senior functionary of the Kranti Maratha Morcha, one of the main organisers of the protests, told The Indian Express, “Although our main demand is Maratha reservation, the fee concession is going to help a large section of the poor Marathas, especially those engaged in the agriculture sector.”
In Maharashtra, 78 per cent of the farmers have average land holdings less than 2.5 acres. Apart from 50 per cent fee concession for children of marginal farmers pursuing professional courses, the government has also announced a special scheme for their lodging and boarding. The Marathas constitute 33 per cent of the state’s population.
Sources in the Kranti Maratha Morcha said, “The biggest component from the community who participate in the rallies are poor Maratha villagers who cannot pay for their children to pursue courses in medical and engineering colleges.”
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A Maratha volunteer who is part of planning the rallies said, “We believe the first phase of street protests should come to an end. We held a few meetings where we talked about engaging in discussions on the development plank.”
The state government’s decision to set up a Skill Development Corporation to train youths so as to facilitate entrepreneurship and open avenues of jobs is also being seriously explored by the Maratha organisers.
A political manager of the Kranti Maratha Morcha, on condition of anonymity, said, “We can extend facilities for training youths in various vocational courses and employment through the existing infrastructure and institutes of Maratha leaders.”
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