//Maharashtra State was first to enact law for quota

Maharashtra State was first to enact law for quota

Prashant Hamine
Thursday, May 11, 2006  01:38 IST

The reservation issue is raking up controversies like never before.  In fact, Maharashtra was the first state to have enacted a law providing reservation quotas in public services in 2004. The law had provided for a 52 percent reservation quota for SC, ST, Denotified and Nomadic Tribes, and OBCs.

However, due to strong opposition from the private sector, the law was never enforced.
The Bill to this effect was first moved in the Legislative Council on July 17, 2001 by then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

The State Legislature records reveal that the bill was then referred to a joint select committee of both the Houses of the Legislature. After the report of the select committee, the legislation was passed by the Legislative Assembly in July 2004 during the tenure of then chief minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

The purpose of the law as stated in its statement of objects and reasons was to provide adequate representation to the Schedule Castes, Scheduled Tribes, De-notified Tribes, Nomadic Tribes, Special Backward Category and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in public services and posts.

The law provided for deterrent, punitive provisions against those officers and
authorities who did not  implement the said reservation policy.

The law covered offices of the government, local authorities, statutory authorities, universities, company, corporation or a cooperative society where the government had a stake of 51 percent in its share-capital.

The category-wise percentage of reservation was as follows: SC – 13 percent, ST – 7 percent, De-notified Tribes (A) – 3 percent, Nomadic Tribes (B) – 2.5 percent, Nomadic Tribes (C) – 3.5 percent, Nomadic Tribes (D) – 2 percent, Special Backward Category – 2 percent, OBCs – 19 percent.

According to legislature sources, though the law was passed it has so far not been implemented because of the strong opposition from private sector companies.

OBC report: The legislature committee on welfare of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) had in its report submitted to the state legislature on April 20 last had argued that the reservation quota fixed for the OBCs was not enough.

Committee chairman Tukaram Birkad (NCP) had then remarked that despite the OBCs comprising 52 percent of the state’s  population, the 19 percent reservation quota was not enough.
Apart from demanding increased allocations for the existing OBC Finance and Welfare Corporation, Birkad also demanded creation of a separate department in the ministry for them. Birkad urged the government to impress upon the Centre to conduct separate Census of OBCs during the next Census in 2010.