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Fresh Maratha quota stir in Maharashtra today, govt offers sops

The Maharashtra government has decided to stand guarantor for loans to be disbursed to youth from the Maratha community under a scheme to extend financial assistance to backward communities. This comes even as protesters have blocked the Pune-Solapur highway.

The decision was taken at the cabinet sub-committee chaired by Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil yesterday.

The committee has been set up to take steps for the welfare of the Maratha community, which has been agitating over its demand for reservation in government jobs and education. The panel had received complaints that banks were not approving loans of people from the community and asking for counter-guarantee.

Over 10,000 applications are pending for approval, and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had earlier given an assurance that he will take up the issue with the State Level Bankers’ Committee.

During the meeting yesterday, the cabinet sub-committee decided that the government would stand guarantor for loans to be given to the Maratha youth under a scheme of the state-run Annabhau Sathe Financial Development Corporation, said an official release issued late last night.

The scheme aims to improve the financial condition of backward communities by offering assistance for self-employment and other business ventures.

The M.Phil and Ph.D research students from the community will also be given fellowships by the Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaja Research, Training and Human Development Institute, set up by the government in Pune.

The institute’s mandate is to study social, financial and educational issues faced by Marathas, Kunbis and farmers in the state. Patil said the government has decided to pay half of the fees of students including Marathas, whose family income is less than Rs 8 lakh per anum, for 608 professional courses. Action would be taken against colleges which do not admit students by taking 50 per cent fees (as part of the fee-waiver scheme), he said.

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