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Mahabaleshwar Pratapgad 023.jpg
Mumbai Train Station.jpg
Ajanta Padmapani.jpg
1 view from rocky hill from which Kailasha temple is carved, Ellora Caves India.jpg
Gateway of India at night.jpg
Shiva Trimurti @ Elephanta Caves.jpg
Seal of Maharashtra
Location of Maharashtra in India
Location of Maharashtra in India
Coordinates (Mumbai): 18.97°N 72.820°ECoordinates18.97°N 72.820°E
Country  India
Formation 1 May 1960^(Maharashtra Day)
Capitals Mumbai
Districts 36 total
 • Body Government of Maharashtra
 • Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao
 • Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis (BJP)
 • Legislature Bicameral
Legislative Council 78 
Legislative Assembly 288
 • Total 307,713 km2(118,809 sq mi)
Area rank 3rd
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total 112,372,972
 • Rank 2nd
 • Density 370/km2 (950/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Maharashtrian
 • Total (2018–19) ₹27.96 lakh crore(US$390 billion)
 • Per capita (2017–18) ₹180,596 (US$2,500)
 • Official[6] Marathi
Time zone UTC+05:30 (IST)
ISO 3166 code IN-MH
Vehicle registration MH
HDI (2015) Increase 0.683[7] (medium) · 9th
Literacy (2011) 82.9% · 6th
Sex ratio (2011) 929 /1000 [8]
The State of Bombay was split into two States i.e. Maharashtra and Gujarat by the Bombay Reorganisation Act 1960[9]
†† Common high court

Maharashtra (/mɑːhəˈrɑːʃtrə/Marathi: [məharaːʂʈrə] (About this sound listen), abbr. MH) is a state in the western region of India and is India’s second-most populous stateand third-largest state by area. Spread over 307,713 km2 (118,809 sq mi), it is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west and the Indian states of KarnatakaTelanganaGoaGujaratChhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh and the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. It is also the world’s second-most populous subnational entity. It has over 112 million inhabitants and its capital, Mumbai, has a population around 18 million making it the most populous urban area in India. Nagpur hosts the winter session of the state legislature.[10] Pune is its cultural capital.[11][12] Pune is known as “Oxford of the East” due to the presence of several well-known educational institutions.[13][14]

The Godavari and the Krishna are the two major rivers in the state. The Narmada and Tapti Rivers flow near the border between Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Maharashtra is the third-most urbanized state of India.[15][16] Prior to Indian independence, Maharashtra was chronologically ruled by the Satavahana dynastyKadambasRashtrakuta dynastyWestern ChalukyasDeccan sultanatesMughals and Marathas, and the British. Ruins, monuments, tombs, forts, and places of worship left by these rulers are dotted around the state. They include the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Ajanta and Ellora caves. The numerous forts are associated with the life of Chhattrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Maharashtra is the wealthiest state by all major economic parameters and also the most industrialized state in India. The state contributes about 25% of the country’s industrial output and 23.2% of its gross domestic product (GDP) (2010–11).[17] The economy of Maharashtra is the largest state economy in India with ₹27.96 lakh crore (US$390 billion) in GDP and a per capita GDP of ₹180,000 (US$2,500).[3][4]


The modern Marathi language developed from the Maharashtri Prakrit,[18]and the word Marhatta (later used for the Marathas) is found in the JainMaharashtri literature. The terms Maharashtra, Maharashtri, Marathi, and Maratha may have derived from the same root. However, their exact etymology is uncertain.[19] The Nashik Gazetteer states that in 246 BC Maharatta is mentioned as one of the places to which Mauryan emperor Ashoka sent an embassy, and Maharashtraka is recorded in a Chalukyaninscription of 580 CE as including three provinces and 99,000 villages, but the Marathas as a people do not seem to be mentioned before the 13th or 14th century.[20][21][better source needed]

The most widely accepted theory among the linguistic scholars is that the words Maratha and Maharashtra ultimately derived from a combination of Maha (Marathiमहा) and rashtrika (Marathiराष्ट्रिका).[19] the name of a tribe or dynasty of petty chiefs ruling in the Deccan region.[22] Another theory is that the term is derived from Maha (“great”) and ratha / rathi (chariot / charioteer), which refers to a skilful northern fighting force that migrated southward into the area.[22][23]

An alternative theory states that the term derives from the word Maha (“great”) and Rashtra (“nation/dominion”).[24] However, this theory is somewhat controversial among modern scholars who believe it to be the Sanskritised interpretation of later writers.[19]


Chalcolithic sites belonging to the Jorwe culture (circa 1300–700 BCE) have been discovered throughout the state.[25][26]

Maharashtra was ruled by the Maurya Empire in the fourth and third centuries BCE. Around 230 BCE, Maharashtra came under the rule of the Satavahana dynasty for 400 years.[27] The greatest ruler of the Satavahana dynasty was Gautamiputra Satakarni. In 90 CE, Vedishri,[28] son of the Satavahana king Satakarni, the “Lord of Dakshinapatha, wielder of the unchecked wheel of Sovereignty”, made Junnar, 30 miles north of Pune, the capital of his kingdom. The state was also ruled by Western SatrapsGupta EmpireGurjara-PratiharaVakatakaKadambasChalukya EmpireRashtrakuta Dynasty, and Western Chalukya before finally, the Yadava rule. The Buddhist Ajanta Caves in present-day Aurangabad display influences from the Satavahana and Vakataka style. The caves were possibly excavated during this period.[29]

Kailasanatha temple, remarkably carved out of one single rock was built by Rashtrakuta king Krishna I (r. 756-773 CE)[30]
The Ramayana panel at Ellora Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Chalukya dynasty ruled from the sixth to the eighth centuries CE, and the two prominent rulers were Pulakeshin II, who defeated the north Indian Emperor Harsha, and Vikramaditya II, who defeated the Arab invaders in the eighth century. The Rashtrakuta dynasty ruled Maharashtra from the eighth to the tenth century.[31] The Arab traveller Sulaiman described the ruler of the Rashtrakuta Dynasty (Amoghavarsha) as “one of the four great kings of the world”.[32] Shilahara dynasty began as vassals of the Rashtrakuta dynasty which ruled the Deccan plateau between the eighth and tenth centuries. From the early 11th century to the 12th century, the Deccan Plateau, which includes a significant part of Maharashtra, was dominated by the Western Chalukya Empire and the Chola dynasty.[33] Several battles were fought between the Western Chalukya empire and the Chola dynasty in the Deccan Plateau during the reigns of Raja Raja Chola IRajendra Chola IJayasimha IISomeshvara I, and Vikramaditya VI.[34]

In the early 14th century, the Yadava dynasty, which ruled most of present-day Maharashtra, was overthrown by the Delhi Sultanate ruler Ala-ud-din Khalji. Later, Muhammad bin Tughluq conquered parts of the Deccan, and temporarily shifted his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad in Maharashtra. After the collapse of the Tughluqs in 1347, the local Bahmani Sultanate of Gulbarga took over, governing the region for the next 150 years.[35] After the break-up of the Bahamani sultanate in 1518, Maharashtra split into five Deccan SultanatesNizamshah of AhmednagarAdilshahof Bijapur, Qutubshah of Golkonda, Bidarshah of Bidar and Imadshah of Elichpur. These kingdoms often fought with each other. United, they decisively defeated the Vijayanagara Empire of the south in 1565.[36] The present area of Mumbai was ruled by the Sultanate of Gujarat before its capture by Portugal in 1535 and the Faruqi dynasty ruled the Khandesh region between 1382 and 1601 before finally getting annexed by the Mughal EmpireMalik Ambar, the regent of the Nizamshahi dynasty of Ahmednagar from 1607 to 1626.[37]increased the strength and power of Murtaza Nizam Shah and raised a large army. Malik Ambar is said to have been a proponent of guerilla warfare in the Deccan region. Malik Ambar assisted Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in Delhi against his stepmother, Nur Jahan, who had ambitions of seating her son-in-law on the throne.[38]

By the early 17th century, Shahaji Bhosale, an ambitious local general who had served Ahmadnagar Nizamshahi, the Mughals and Adil Shah of Bijapur at different periods during his career, attempted to establish his independent rule.[39] His son Shivaji Maharaj succeeded in establishing the Maratha Empire which was further expanded during the 18th century by the Bhat family Peshwas based in Pune, Bhonsle of Nagpur, Gaekwad of Baroda, Holkar of IndoreScindia of Gwalior.[40] At its peak, the empire covered much of the subcontinent, encompassing a territory of over 2.8 million km². The Marathas are credited to a large extent for ending the Mughal rule in India.[41][42][43] The Marathas defeated the Mughals, and conquered large territories in northern and central parts of the Indian subcontinent. After their defeat at the hand of Ahmad Shah Abdali‘s Afghan forces in the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761, the Maratha suffered a setback. However, the Marathas soon regained lost influence and ruled central and north India including New Delhi until the end of the eighteenth century. The Third Anglo-Maratha War(1817–1818) led to the end of the Maratha Empire and East India Company ruled the country in 1819.[44][45] The Marathas also developed a potent Navy circa 1660s, which at its peak, dominated the territorial waters of the western coast of India from Mumbai to Savantwadi.[46] It would engage in attacking the BritishPortugueseDutch, and Siddi Naval ships and kept a check on their naval ambitions. The Maratha Navy dominated till around the 1730s, was in a state of decline by 1770s, and ceased to exist by 1818.[47]

India contains no more than two great powers, British and Mahratta, and every other state acknowledges the influence of one or the other. Every inch that we recede will be occupied by them.

—  Charles Metcalfe, one of the ablest of the British Officials in India and later acting Governor-General, wrote in 1806

The British governed western Maharashtra as part of the Bombay Presidency, which spanned an area from Karachi in Pakistan to northern Deccan. A number of the Maratha states persisted as princely states, retaining autonomy in return for acknowledging British suzerainty. The largest princely states in the territory were NagpurSatara and Kolhapur; Satara was annexed to the Bombay Presidency in 1848, and Nagpur was annexed in 1853 to become Nagpur Province, later part of the Central ProvincesBerar, which had been part of the Nizam of Hyderabad’s kingdom, was occupied by the British in 1853 and annexed to the Central Provinces in 1903.[48] However, a large part called Marathwada remained part of the Nizam’s Hyderabad State throughout the British period.

The period of British rule was marked by social reforms and an improvement in infrastructure as well as revolts due to their discriminatory policies. At the turn of the 20th century, the struggle for independence took shape, led by radical nationalist Bal Gangadhar Tilak and the moderates like Justice Mahadev Govind RanadeGopal Krishna GokhalePherozeshah Mehta and Dadabhai NaorojiDr. B. R. AmbedkarJyotirao Phule – social reformers who were all born in this region. After the partial autonomy given to the states by the Government of India Act of 1935B. G. Kher became the first Chief Minister of the Congress party led Government of tri-lingual Bombay Presidency.[49] The ultimatum to the British during the Quit India Movement was given in Mumbai, and culminated in the transfer of power and independence in 1947.

After India’s independence, the Deccan States, including Kolhapur were integrated into Bombay State, which was created from the former Bombay Presidency in 1950.[50] In 1956, the States Reorganisation Act reorganised the Indian states along linguistic lines, and Bombay Presidency State was enlarged by the addition of the predominantly Marathi-speaking regions of Marathwada (Aurangabad Division) from erstwhile Hyderabad state and Vidarbha region from the Central Provinces and Berar. The southernmost part of Bombay State was ceded to Mysore. From 1954 to 1955 the people of Maharashtra strongly protested against bilingual Bombay state and Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti, was formed.[51][52] The Mahagujarat Movementwas started, seeking a separate Gujarat state. Keshavrao JedheS.M. JoshiShripad Amrit DangePralhad Keshav Atre and Gopalrao Khedkar fought for a separate state of Maharashtra with Mumbai as its capital under the banner of Samyukta Maharashtra Movement. On 1 May 1960, following mass protests and 105 deaths, the separate Marathi-speaking state was formed by dividing earlier Bombay State into the new states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.[53] The state continues to have a dispute with Karnataka regarding the region of Belgaum and Karwar.[54][55][56]

Geography and climate[edit]

Bramhagiri hills in Sahyadri mountain range (Western Ghats)
Dried up Godavari at Puntamba, Ahmadnagar district after a poor Monsoon
Wainganga River near Bhandara district.

Maharashtra occupies the western and central part of the country and has a long coastline stretching 720 kilometres[57] along the Arabian Sea.[58] One of the more prominent physical features of Maharashtra is the Deccan plateau, which is separated from the Konkan coastline by ‘Ghats’.[59] The Ghats are a succession of steep hills, periodically bisected by narrow roads. Most of the famous hill stations of the state are at the Ghats. The Western Ghats (or the Sahyadri Mountain range) provide a physical backbone to the state on the west, while the Satpura Hills along the north and Bhamragad-Chiroli-Gaikhuri ranges on the east serve as its natural borders.[60] The state is surrounded by Gujarat to the north west, Madhya Pradesh to the north, Chhattisgarh to the east, Telangana to the south east, Karnataka to the south and Goa to the south west.[61]

Maharashtra is the third largest state by area in India.[62] The Western Ghats better known as Sahyadri, are a hilly range running parallel to the coast, at an average elevation of 1,200 metres (4,000 ft).[59] Kalsubai, a peak in the Sahyadris, near Nashik city is the highest elevated point in Maharashtra.[63] To the west of these hills lie the Konkan coastal plains, 50–80 kilometres in width. To the east of the Ghats lies the flat Deccan Plateau. Forests comprise 17% of the total area of the state.[58] A majority of the forests are in the eastern and Sahyadri regions of the state. The main rivers of the state are KrishnaBhimaGodavariTapiPurna and WardhaWainganga.[58][64] Since the central parts of the state receives low rainfall, most of the rivers in the region have multiple dams. Maharashtra has around 1821 notable large dams.[65]

Maharashtra is divided into five geographic regions. Konkan is the western coastal region, between the Western Ghats and the sea.[66] Kandesh is the north-western region lying in the valley of the Tapti River.[64] Jalgaon, Dhule and Bhusawal are the major cities of this region.[67] Desh is in the centre of the state.[68] Marathwada, which was a part of the princely state of Hyderabad until 1956, is located in the southeastern part of the state.[58][69] Aurangabad and Nanded are the main cities of the region.[70] Vidarbha is the easternmost region of the state, formerly part of Central Provinces and Berar. Nagpur, where the winter session of the state assembly is held, Akola,Amravati and Chandrapur are the main cities in the region.[58] Sahyadri range, with an elevation of 1000 meters, is known for its crowning plateaus.[71] Lying between the Arabian Sea and the Sahyadri Range, Konkan is narrow coastal lowland, just 50 km wide and with an elevation below 200 meters.[72] The third important region is the Satpura hills along the northern border, and the Bhamragad-Chiroli-Gaikhuri ranges on the eastern border, which form physical barriers preventing easy movement.[58] These ranges also serve as natural limits to the state.[58][73]


Maharashtra has typical monsoon climate, with hot, rainy and cold weather seasons. However, dew, frost and hail also occur sometimes, depending upon the seasonal weather. The winter in January and February is followed by summer between March and May and the monsoon season between June and September. Summers are extreme with March, April and May as the hottest months. During April and May thunderstorms are common all over the state. Temperature varies between 22 °C and 39 °C during this season. Rainfall starts normally in the first week of June. July is the wettest month in Maharashtra, while August also gets substantial rain. Monsoon starts its retreat with the coming of September to the state. Winter season is a cool, dry spell, with clear skies gentle breeze; pleasant weather prevails from November to February. But the eastern part of Maharashtra sometimes receives some rainfall. Temperature varies between 12 °C and 34 °C during this season. Rainfall in Maharashtra differs from region to region. Thane, RaigadRatnagiri and Sindhudurg districts, receive heavy rains of an average of 200 centimetres annually. But the districts of NasikPuneAhmednagarDhuleJalgaonSataraSangliSolapurand parts of Kolhapur get rainfall less than 50 centimetres. Rainfall is particularly high in areas adjacent to the Sahyadri mountains such as coastal Konkan on the west and foothills of the mountain range on the eastern side.Central Maharashtra receives less rainfall. However, under the influence of the Bay of Bengal, eastern Vidarbha receives good rainfall in July, August and September.[74]


State symbols of Maharashtra[75]
Animal Indian giant squirrel Malabar giant sqirrel.jpg
Bird Yellow-footed green pigeon Pair Angel Birds got place on Holly Tree.jpg
Tree Mango Mangues.JPG
Flower Lagerstroemia speciosa Jarul.jpg
Butterfly Blue Mormon Papilio polymnestor-Kadavoor-2016-07-27-002.jpg

Flora of Maharashtra is heterogeneous in composition. In 2012 the recorded thick forest area in the state was 61,939 km2 (23,915 sq mi) which was about 20.13% of the state’s geographical area.These[76] There are three main Public Forestry Institutions (PFIs) in the Maharashtra state: the Maharashtra Forest Department (MFD), the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM) and the Directorate of Social Forestry (SFD).[77]

According to the Champion and Seth classification, Maharashtra has five types of forests:[78]

  1. Southern Tropical Semi-Evergreen Forests:These are found in the western ghats at height of 400–1000 meters.Some of the species of trees found in this type of forests are AnjaniHirdaKinjal, and Mango.
  2. Southern Tropical Moist Deciduous Forests:Two main sub-types occur under this group. i) Moist Teak bearing Forests:These forests are found in Melghat,[79] other districts in Vidarbha and Thane district.Commercially important Teak, Shishum and bamboo are found here. ii) Moist Mixed deciduous Forests:In addition to ever green Teak, some of the other tree species found in this type of forests include JambulAin, and Shisam.
  3. Southern Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests.Forests of this type occupy a major part of the state.Two types of occur under this group. i) Dry Teak Bearing Forests and ii) Moist Mixed deciduous Forests
  4. Southern Tropical Thorn Forests:These are found in the low rainfall regions of MarathwadaVidarbhaKhandesh and Western Maharashtra.At present, these forests are heavily degraded. BabulBor, and Palas are some of the tree species found here.
  5. Littoral and Swamp Forests: These are mainly found in the Creeks of Sindhudurg and Thane districts of the coastal Konkan region.These forests are important for the protection of coastal environment

Some of the forest areas have been converted into wildlife reserves, thus preserving their biodiversity.[80] Western ghats of Maharashtra are included in the 34 global Biodiversity hotspots owing to its extraordinarily rich biodiversity. The biodiversity includes more than five hundred species of bird.[81] Similarly a study in the Amravati region found 171 species of birds. Both regions include resident as well as migrant species.[82] The state has three game reserves, as well as several national parks and bird sanctuaries.[83] The six tiger reserves located in the state cover a total area of 9133 sqkm. Wildlife sanctuaries in the state include Bhimashankar Wildlife SanctuaryRadhanagari Wildlife SanctuaryBor Wildlife SanctuaryKoyna Wildlife SanctuaryChandoli National ParkSanjay Gandhi National Park and Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary.[84] The most common animals found in the state are tigersblack panthersleopardsgaursloth bearssambarfour-horned antelopeblue bullchitalbarking deermouse deercivet catsjackalsjungle catsstriped hyena, and hare.[85] Other animals in the state include reptiles such as lizardscobras and kraits.[83] The national parks of Maharashtra possess a variety of plant species that include jamunpalasshisamneemteakdhawadakalamainbijashirishmangoacaciaawalakadambamohaterminaliahedu and ficus.[79]

Regions, divisions and districts[edit]

refer caption


Divisions of Maharashtra, along with their respective districts (except Palghar district formed in 2014)

Maharashtra consists of six administrative divisions:[86]

  1. Amravati
  2. Aurangabad
  3. Konkan
  4. Nagpur
  5. Nashik
  6. Pune

The state’s six divisions are further divided into 36 districts, 109 sub-divisions and 357 talukas.[87] Maharashtra’s top five districts by population, as ranked by the 2011 Census, are listed in the following table.[88]

Each district is governed by a district collector or district magistrate, appointed either by the Indian Administrative Service or the Maharashtra Civil Service.[89] Districts are subdivided into sub-divisions (Taluka) governed by sub-divisional magistrates, and again into blocks.[90] A block consists of panchayats (village councils) and town municipalities.[91][92] Talukas are intermediate level panchayat between the Zilla Parishad (district councils) at the district level and gram panchayat (village councils) at the lower level.[90][93]