According to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, quotas should be increased to reflect the population proportion of the various castes. He suggests raising the quotas to 20% for SCs, 2% for STs, and 43% for OBCs and EBCs combined.
In order to surpass the threshold imposed by the Supreme Court, the Bihar Cabinet has approved a proposal to raise reservations in the State for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), Other Backward Classes (OBCs), and Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs) to 65% from the current 50% quota. At the State Assembly’s ongoing Winter Session, a bill to enact the rise will be introduced on November 9.
Shortly after the caste census data was presented to the State Assembly, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar suggested the increase. “Quotas for Other Backward Classes & Extremely Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes need to be enhanced in light of the caste census findings… After the report was presented to the Assembly and there was discussion, the Chief Minister stated that the reservation quota for caste groups might be raised in accordance with their numbers. “After the appropriate consultations, we’ll take the necessary action. We plan to implement these modifications during the current session,” he continued.
He suggested that the current 16% quota for SCs should be increased to 20%, as they represent 19.7% of the population according to the survey. According to him, the reservation for STs, who make up 1.7% of the population, should be increased from 1% to 2%. Mr. Kumar suggested that both communities should receive a quota of 43%. OBCs make up 27% of the population and receive a quota of 12%, while EBCs make up 36% of the population and receive a quota of 18%.
The 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) is not included in these planned hikes. Bihar’s projected reservation will increase to 75% when combined with the EWS quota, significantly exceeding the Supreme Court’s 50% reservation cap.
Social and economic data from the comprehensive report on the caste survey, which was presented before the House, revealed that 34% of households in the state make ₹6,000 or less a month. The Bhumihars (2.9%) are poorer than other upper castes, who comprise around 15.4% of the population; similarly, the Yadavs (14.3%) are poorer than other OBCs, which comprise approximately 27% of the population. The State has 94 lakh impoverished families in total. The State’s current literacy rate is 79.7%, up from 61.8% in 2011.
“Yadav, there are too many Muslims.”
The opposition BJP lawmakers presented the report with accusations that the government coalition, which consists of the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Janata Dal (United), had exaggerated the number of Yadavs and Muslims in order to appease their own voter bases.
Mr. Kumar dismissed their assertion as “bogus,” asking how it is possible to argue that numbers for a certain caste or religious group have been exaggerated since there has never been a caste survey conducted in the nation. The British were in charge of the nation when the caste survey procedure began in 1930. Subsequently, the caste survey was discontinued, and despite our repeated requests, a national caste census has not been conducted. He reminded the BJP lawmakers in opposition that the caste survey had originally been supported by the House in unanimity. He remarked, “You all should keep in mind that all nine political parties had gone to meet with the Prime Minister with our demand and that we had mutually agreed that it should happen.”
impact of polls
The Chief Minister’s plan to boost reservations in light of the caste survey ahead of the Lok Sabha election, political analyst Ajay Kumar told The Hindu, “appears to be his last effort to return to power.” “Mr. Kumar will use it [the caste survey report and quota hike proposal] in the State Assembly elections in 2025 and the upcoming Lok Sabha poll next year for his advantage,” he continued. It will be interesting to watch how the BJP opposition responds to Nitish Kumar’s astute action in the State.
Prashant Kishor, a former poll strategist who is now active in politics, wasn’t sure if the decision will benefit the CM politically, though. “The results of this caste census will work against Mr. Kumar in the election. Let the time come,” stated Mr. Kishor, who is currently on a state tour promoting Jan Suraaj.