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TISS report "not hostile" to Dhangars' demand for ST tag: CM

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Press Trust of India Mumbai
The report submitted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) with regard to the Dhangar community's pitch for scheduled tribes (ST) status is "not hostile to the demand", Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said.
Fadnavis said the state government would make "appropriate" recommendations to the Centre based on the report, which he added, is being studied at present.
The Dhangars are currently included in the Vimukt Jati Nomadic Tribe (VJNT) category, but they have been demanding ST status for long.
The chief minister also said his government expected the State Backward Class Commission to submit its report in connection with the Maratha community's demand for quota in jobs and education by November 15.
The Marathas form 30 per cent of Maharashtra's population, while the Dhangars constitute 9 per cent of it.
Apropos to the Dhangar community's demand, Fadnavis said a call in this connection is to be taken by the Centre and not the state government.
He made the remarks while speaking to a group of select media persons late Monday night at his official residence 'Varsha' here, ahead of completion of four years of his government on Wednesday.
"We had appointed the TISS to prepare a report...We have received their report and are studying it at present," Fadnavis said.
"Primarily, what I can say, it (the report) is not hostile (to the demand). Hence, we will make appropriate recommendation (to the Centre) based on the report," he added.
Fadnavis said that the report mentions several aspects which strengthen the case of the demand of Dhangars.
He, however, did not divulge details of the report.
About the Maratha community's demand, Fadnavis said the government "will act per timeline".
To a question regarding the demand for reservation to Muslims, Fadnavis said the Constitution does not approve quota for any community based on religion.
He, however, added that the state government has taken several measures in the interest of the minorities, particularly in the area of education.
Fadnavis claimed the previous Congress-NCP coalition disbursed scholarships worth Rs 317 crore for minority community students between 2008 and 2014, that is, an average of Rs 54.83 crore per year.
On the other hand, the BJP-Shiv Sena dispensation has disbursed Rs 388 crore between 2015 and 2018, an average of Rs 96.78 crore, the chief minister said.
He said the previous government built five hostels for minority community students in its last four years as against the 17 constructed by the present regime.
Another 10 hostels are under construction, Fadnavis added.
"We are bearing the expenses of their education. We have also increased scholarship. We will take decisions based on the Constitution (for minorities)...We will take all the required decisions to bring the minorities in the mainstream," he added.

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First Published: Oct 30 2018 | 6:20 PM IST

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