SC order on OBC quota: Uddhav calls meeting with MSCBC members next week

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A day after the Supreme Court directed the Maharashtra government to submit data on Other Backward Classes (OBC) to the Maharashtra State Commission for Backward Classes (MSCBC) to examine its correctness and make recommendations on their representation in elections for local bodies, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday scheduled a meeting with senior ministers, MSCBC members and bureaucrats on Monday to discuss the way ahead. The decision was taken in the state Cabinet meeting held on Thursday.

Sources in the government said that the Cabinet was briefed about the SC’s directions to the state. “Senior ministers put forth their views on the issue. Subsequently, it was decided that the CM will hold a meeting of senior ministers, commission members and bureaucrats to chart out the way ahead,” said a minister.

Sources said that the meeting on Monday would ensure proper coordination between the government and the MSCBC. “It will ensure that there is no communication gap between the state and the commission,” said an official.

The meeting assumes significance as the MSCBC had last week unanimously rejected the state government’s request seeking an interim report from the commission on providing OBC quota in the local bodies. Sources said that MSCBC’s rejection came due to a communication gap, as it felt that the government was bypassing the original terms of reference given to the commission.

Sources said the government data included the various surveys conducted by the state rural development and urban development departments in local bodies on poverty alleviation, health and education sectors. The government is likely to refer to the data of previous backward classes commission and Census 2011 as well.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet decided to implement a comprehensive policy on sand mining by abolishing its existing policy on mining in rivers and creeks. The revised policy increased the period of sand excavation up to five years by giving royalty, so that the people can get sand at reasonable rates. In another decision, the Cabinet approved the extension of the expenditure limit for irrigation projects from Rs 114 crore to Rs 624 crore.

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