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RESERVATION FOR ORPHANS. A NEW FACE OF EQUALITY

 

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The BJP led Maharashtra State Government on Wednesday (17/01/2018) made a notifiable and remarkable announcement in its political history by providing reservation for orphans in terms of a government job and education. The reservation of 1% shall be made available under the open/general category. The idea behind making the reservation available under the general or open category was because it became difficult or nearly impossible for the orphans to know their caste, owing to which their accommodation under any specific category or caste was not possible.

The reservation to be provided shall be termed as ‘Parallel Reservation’, which means that from the total availability of government job 1% shall be strictly reserved for orphans only.  Under this concept of ‘Parallel Reservation’, there would be no compulsion on the government to increase its reservation quota specifically in any case because the present slot that has been made available for caste reservation in the State is already more than 50%, so by opting for Parallel reservation the caste reservation quota which has already reached 52% shall remain unaffected.

This decision will definitely be a stepping stone towards the upliftment of the orphans, it would also provide them with a sense of security in terms of education and jobs. The Women and Child Welfare Minister Ms. Pankaja Munde while speaking on this progress stated that this move will help in the rehabilitation of the orphans and will help them overcome a majority of the difficulties that they face after moving out of an orphanage. She also mentioned that due to the lack of knowledge of their caste many orphans are deprived of the educational, social, economic reliefs and benefits granted by the government.

By granting this special quota the government aims to become the custodian of the orphans and will protect their rights and interests. This move aims to bring an end to the hardships faced by the orphans. Presently, there are approximately 3900 orphans who are registered with the government orphanages, this figure does not include the ones staying in private orphanages.

However, the definition of ‘orphans’ has not yet been framed and identified with respect to this reservation. State women and child welfare department, secretary Vinita Ved Singhal, stated that guidelines have been issued by the State cabinet, relying on which a government resolution incorporating the definition of orphans along with the procedure and rules for proper implementation shall be drafted at the earliest. With regards to the framing of the definition of the orphans, the opinion of the Advocate General (AG) shall also be taken into consideration.

The hurdles that are encountered by the orphans was highlighted by Amrita Karavande, in front of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Amrita Karavande, an orphan grew up in an orphanage in Goa and later on, completed her education in Maharashtra. Even after clearing her Maharashtra Public Service Commission examination she was not eligible for a job because she did not qualify, through the general category merit list but if she had applied through reservation then without any difficulty she would have availed the job. In this case, despite being sufficiently qualified she had to lose her job on the grounds of no knowledge of caste. Amrita had then requested the Chief Minister that an equal opportunity to avail jobs and education should be made available to the orphans also.

This decision of the Maharashtra Government not only aims to empower the orphans, but it will also enable them to be at par with the other members of the society. By declaring this scheme Maharashtra has become the first and the only state in the country to stand for the rights of the orphans. This historic decision has given new dimensions to the concept of equality, and by a proper implementation of this scheme, it will definitely meet the true essence of equality as laid down in the Constitution of the country.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Written By: Shajeeda Tajdeen

                                                                                                                   Edited By  : Rachit Mehroatra

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