Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday proposed to increase reservations for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, as well Other Backward Classes and Extremely Backward Classes to 65 per cent in the state, up from the 50 per cent ceiling set by the Supreme Court. The Chief Minister's statement in the assembly followed soon after the state released the full report of the controversial caste survey detailing the economic conditions of various sections.
Combined with the Centre's 10 per cent quota for the Economically Weaker Sections quota (EWS), the proposed reservation will go up to 75 per cent.
"Quotas for Other Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes need to be raised," Nitish Kumar said during a debate after the tabling of the detailed caste survey report in the assembly. "We will do the needful after due consultations. It is our intent to effect these changes in the current session," he said.
Here's a breakdown of the proposed reservation in Bihar:
Scheduled Castes (SC): 20%
Scheduled Tribes (ST): 2%
Other Backward Classes (OBC) and Extremely Backward Classes (EBC): 43%
Currently, there is 18 per cent reservation for EBCs, 12 per cent for OBCs, 16 per cent for SCs, 1 per cent for STs and 3 percent for women from backward classes in Bihar in state jobs and educational institutions..
Nitish Kumar's pitch for a hike in caste-based quota comes two days after Union Home Minister Amit Shah accused the Bihar government of inflating the population of Muslims and Yadavs in the caste survey. The politically-powerful Yadavs comprise 14.26 per cent of Bihar's population, the highest among OBCs, according to the caste survey. They are also the core votebank of Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal which is part of the ruling 'mahagathbandhan' (alliance) in the state.
The BJP has slammed the caste survey as part of Nitish Kumar's "politics of appeasement" amid a demand by opposition parties comprising INDIA bloc for a national caste census.
Preliminary findings of the caste survey. were released on October 2. However, the second part of the data from the Bihar government's caste-based survey was tabled in the Bihar Assembly today.
The Nitish Kumar government ordered the exercise following the Centre's reluctance to hold a caste census.
The preliminary findings established that OBCs and Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs) constituted more than 60 per cent of the state’s total population, while the upper castes accounted for about 10 per cent.