THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 20 November 2018 (Quota math: on Maharashtra's Maratha reservation proposal)

Quota math: on Maharashtra's Maratha reservation proposal

Mains Paper 2: Polity
Prelims level: Reservations
Mains level: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies Government policies and interventions
for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation


  •  The Maratha community has secured yet another promise of reservation in government jobs and educational institutions.
  •  The proposal has been cleared by the Maharashtra Cabinet, but is yet to be passed in the State Assembly.
  •  Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis defended this saying it is in line with the recommendations of a State Backward Class Commission (SBCC) report, yet to be made public, mandating reservations for Marathas under a new, separate Socially and Educationally Backward Class category.

Important highlights of the SBCC report

  •  The Cabinet’s nod is in any case born of political exigency, not socio-economic reasons.
  •  The SBCC’s reported findings that a significant proportion of Marathas constitute a socially and educationally backward class do not square with available data.
  •  As with Jats in Rajasthan and Patels in Gujarat, they enjoy a socio-economic status closer to that of the forward classes (and castes) in Maharashtra.
  •  Three previous SBCC assessments have indicated as much. Besides, there is no reason to argue that Marathas face any social stigma that calls for affirmative action. The demand for reservations in this case is therefore less an acknowledgement of social backwardness from a politically powerful community and more a call for the accrual of welfare benefits to less well-off sections among the community.

Way forward

  •  The assertions of backwardness by sections of dominant communities such as Marathas, Patels and Jats have largely been due to perceptions about the relative inability to move up the economic ladder, and the lack of adequate employment opportunities amid a sluggish agrarian economy.
  •  The Fadnavis government had to accept this demand, especially after the SBCC gave its stamp of approval, but there is little to suggest any substantial change since 2014 to justify it.
  •  As judicial scrutiny is bound to be brought to bear on the government’s decision.
  •  It will be well-advised to look at measures to alleviate the State’s prolonged agrarian distress and the lack of adequate jobs, problems that affect all sections of society.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

Prelims Questions:

Q.1) Which of the following is correctly matched?
1. Agro based industries - leather industries
2. Forest based industries - pharmaceuticals
3. Cottage industries - basket weaving

Select the correct code:
a) 3 only
b) 1 and 3 only
c) 2 and 3 only
d) All of the above

Answer: B

Mains Questions:
Q.1) Maharashtra’s proposal on reservation for Marathas is bound to invite judicial scrutiny. Critical analyse the statement.