Bihar Assembly passes Bill to raise ST, SC, OBC quota from 50% to 65%

With the existing 10% quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), the effective reservation in the state will be 75%

Bihar Assembly on November 9 unanimously passed a Bill to increase the overall reservations in educational institutions and government jobs for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) from 50% to 65% in the state.

With the existing 10% quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), the effective reservation in the state will be 75%.

Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) are the main beneficiaries of the new move of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led government. Quota for EBCs is proposed to be raised from 12% to 25% and for OBCs from 8% to 18%. According to the state’s caste survey, 36.01% of the population are EBCs, and 27.13% are OBCs.

For SCs, the reservation is proposed to be increased from 14% to 20%. The SC population is estimated at 19.65% in the state. The quota for STs, however, is proposed to be slashed from 10% to 2%. With most of the tribal areas going to Jharkhand after the bifurcation of Bihar in 2000, the tribal population in Bihar is less than 2%.

According to the socio-economic data from the caste survey report that was tabled in the legislature on Tuesday, 34% of Bihar’s population are “poor”, which means their monthly income is below ₹6,000.

Speaking after the debate on the caste survey report with socio-economic data, Kumar said the decision to hike quota would be possible because of unanimous decisions taken on the caste survey by all parties.

“Bihar has done detailed work to bring all the facts before everyone. After 75% quota, there will be 25% free seats. Increase in quota will allow OBCs and EBCs to have a larger share in keeping with their population. Those who say their caste numbers have come down or some castes have inflated figures are talking trash. This is the first caste survey after 1931. How do they know their numbers without any study?” he had asked.

The Opposition BJP in the state also extended its support to the decision to increase the quota.

“BJP gave its full support to the increase in reservation limits in Bihar. The 16% reservation to SCs should be increased to 20%. We requested that the 1% reservation for the STs should be increased to 2%. BJP has always extended support to any party when it is for reservation,” state BJP president Samrat Chowdhary had said.

The Bill will be tabled in the Legislative Council on Friday, and is likely to be passed unanimously there too.

Clarifying that the additional 10% EWS quota would continue to exist, State Finance Minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary said: “The Bill shows our commitment towards inclusive growth.”

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