In a surprising turn of events, which was rather satisfying to the Maratha community and relieving to the state government, the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission gave its report in favour of the Maratha Community paving way for them to finally get the much-debated Maratha reservation issue.
The findings of the Committee interestingly according to government sources, concluded that the Marathas were, in fact, a socially and educationally backward community. The report states that Marathas make up for 30 per cent of the state’s population. The commission, after a detailed survey of the community, has made many shocking revelations.
According to the report, 70 per cent of the Maratha families lives in ‘kuchcha’ (incomplete, non-concrete) houses, out of which 37 per cent live in the temporary shelters built in the fields. The rate of suicides in the Maratha community too is found to be alarmingly high. In the last five years, 13,368 people in the community have committed suicides. The report further mentions that 76.86 per cent Maratha families depend on farming and farm labour, and an overwhelming 78 per cent of these are either landless or small landholders, and a mere 2.7 per cent own up to 10 acres of land.
In the past 10 years, 21 per cent of Marathas has migrated from rural areas to the city, as mentioned in the report. The migrated population was mostly found to be working as coolies, tiffin service providers (the famous dabbawala), domestic servants, head loaders, etc. Some of the major findings of the report concluded that the community was educationally backward. The report states that 13.42 per cent of the Maratha population is illiterate, 35.31 per cent of them have taken primary education, and 43.79 per cent of them have taken formal education till SSC (Std X).
As for the Maratha population below poverty line, the average income of around 72.82 per cent of the people was less than Rs 50,000, while 37.28 are below the poverty line. Six per cent of the Marathas are found to be serving in government and semi-government jobs, however, they are majorly employed in the Group D. In the Indian Police Service (IPS), the percentage of Maratha employees is 15.92, while it is 7.87 in the Forest Services (IFS). It is 6.92 per cent in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), and for direct recruitment, as low as 0.27 per cent.
As compared to the total Maratha population, hardly 4.30 per cent comprises of the highly educated. The much lower percentage of taking degree courses also points towards the socially incapable, economically inadequate and educationally weak condition of the community, indicates the report. Further, it also states that while 49 per cent of the Maratha families do not own any vehicle, 47 per cent of them have two-wheelers while 0.53 per cent own four-wheelers. The report asserts that all these factors together prove the social, economic and educational backwardness of the Maratha community.
The Backward Class Commission conducted public hearings at 21 different places across the state, in which it received 1,93,651 personal requests and another 814 from various organisations which provided backing to the inclusion of Marathas in the backward community. Only 84 of these aggressively opposed the reservation.