Bihar Caste Survey: 27% Backward Classes, 36% Extremely Backward Classes

Bihar Caste Survey
Bihar Caste Survey

Bihar Caste Survey: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s controversial “caste-based headcount” was made possible by a Patna High Court verdict issued in August.

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The first caste-based survey has been released in Bihar. In the report, 36 per cent of the population are members of Extremely Backward Classes, 27 per cent are members of Backward Classes, 19.7 per cent are members of Scheduled Castes, and 1.7% are members of Scheduled Tribes. There are 15,5% of people in the general population. There are over 13.1 million people living in the state.

Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav belongs to the Yadav community, which accounts for 14.27 percent of all OBC categories, according to the survey.

In addition to kicking off a political row, the fallout of the report will likely include calls to increase OBC quotas, which are now capped at 27%. The data released months before the 2024 Lok Sabha election shows that they now make up 63.1% of the state’s population.

Bihar’s OBCs are numerically superior and have a greater influence on the elections.

Bihar Caste Survey Released

The release of the data on Gandhi Jayanti (the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi) was hailed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on X (formerly Twitter).

In the near future, the nine parties in the Bihar Assembly (including the Deputy Chief Minister’s Rashtriya Janata Dal as well as former allies BJP) will meet. They will be informed about the results… Nitish Kumar said.

Janata Dal (United), the party of the Chief Minister, said the Bihar government “created history”.

“Decades of struggle” led to the report, Tejashwi Yadav said. The government’s policies and intentions will now respect (this) data…” he declared.

Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mr Yadav’s father and party boss, also reacted. “Despite BJP conspiracies, legal hurdles, and all the conspiracies, today the Bihar government released cast-based survey (data),” the former Chief Minister said on Gandhi Jayanti.

While the BJP’s reaction has been predictable, Bihar’s Union Minister and Lok Sabha MP Giriraj Singh branded the study “eyewash”.

Samrat Choudhary, BJP’s state chief, told NDTV that the survey had already been started while the party was still aligned with the JDU. Our official response will be given only once we have studied the methodology and mechanism used in the survey.”

On increasing OBC quotas – in line with the survey findings – he said, “Bababasaheb Ambedkar introduced this provision… then Mandal Commissions and Rohini Commissions. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has consistently ensured various findings are studied. The government will take the appropriate action.”

Mr Kumar stated after the survey was completed in August that the survey would “benefit all” and “enable the development of disadvantaged groups of society”.

Ahead of the August caste-based headcount, when pressed by some political parties, the Chief Minister said all state parties supported the exercise.

BJP support was among the cross-party support, he indicated at the time.

At present, however, there are also divisions within the mega INDIA bloc on this count after the Trinamool Congress objected to a national caste-based survey.

Last week, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that if his party wins the Madhya Pradesh election in November, they would conduct a similar exercise.

Currently, the Supreme Court is hearing petitions challenging the validity of a Patna High Court order calling the exercise “perfectly valid”.

Critics failed to make out a prima facie case for an interim stay before the court refused one.

In June last year, the Bihar government decided to conduct a caste survey.

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