In a trend-setting move, the state of Maharashtra has decided to provide 1% reservation for orphans in the open category for education and jobs at all state-level recruitments.
According to this, the 1% reservation is applicable to orphans in institutions or otherwise, provided the applicant has been unable to trace their parents or any relatives and is further unaware of their caste.
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The applicant is also required to submit a certificate from the Women and Child Department, certifying their status as orphans.
In order to facilitate this resolution, the government has also decentralised the power of allocating these certificates to district-level committees, which have a 40-day deadline to determine the status of the applicant as orphans.
Although the move first sparked discussion as early as January 2018, with the state cabinet all for it, it wasn’t until Monday, April 2, 2018, that a government resolution (GR) was passed to formalise it, reported The Times of India.
Speaking to The Times of India, 23-year-old Amruta Karvande, an orphan from Goa, who moved the government for orphan reservation said, “Earlier, only the Women and Child Commissionerate had the power to issue certificates and it led to high pendency of cases. Only a few people in the state had the certificate.” Amruta added how the government’s decision will immensely help many orphans like her who lose out on opportunities because they do not know their caste.
Another important feature of this GR is that this reservation will extend its benefits to orphans outside any state-funded or unaided institutions. This means that unlike previous decisions and welfare schemes that covered only orphans in unaided or aided orphanages, this reservation will also give a fair chance to the many orphan children who live on footpaths and are not part of any formal institution. This scheme is expected to benefit thousands of orphans in state-run as well as private orphanages.
It is also important to note that this reservation is being termed as ‘parallel reservation’ which means that orphan applicants will be given a reservation of 1% out of the total jobs available under the general category.
In other words, this reservation won’t be an addition to the government’s existing caste reservation quota that has almost crossed 52%.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)