Bihar becomes first state to release data on caste-based survey

OBC accounts for 63% of Bihar’s population, general 15.52%

On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, Bihar Government on Monday released data of the caste-based survey report, which shows that OBC category, which comprises extremely backward classes and backward classes, accounts for 63% of the state’s population.

Extremely backward classes (EBC) comprise 36.01% of the population while the backward classes consists of 27.12% of the state population. Scheduled caste comprises 19.65%, scheduled tribes 1.68% and general category 15.52% of the population covered under the survey.

Bihar has become the first state to release data based on caste-based survey. Bihar’s Development Commissioner and additional chief secretary Vivek Kumar Singh released the report in the state capital Patna on the occasion of 154th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation.
As per the survey report, Bihar’s total population stands at around 13.1 crore.

“Today, on the auspicious occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, the data of caste based census conducted in Bihar has been published. Many congratulations to the entire team engaged in the work of caste based enumeration,” Chief Minister Nitish Kumar posted on X (formerly Twitter).

Kumar further noted that the proposal for caste based enumeration was passed unanimously in the Legislature. It was decided with the consent of all the 9 parties of Bihar Assembly that the state government will conduct caste based census from its own resources and its approval was given from the Council of Ministers on 02-06-2022. On this basis, the state government has conducted caste based census from its own resources.

Caste-based census not only revealed the castes but also gave information about the economic condition of everyone. On this basis, further action will be taken for the development and upliftment of all sections, he added.

As per the survey, Yadav is the largest caste. It constitutes 14.26% of the state’s population. Other dominant castes in the OBC category are: Kushwaha 4.27% and Kurmi 2.87%.

The survey was started in 2022 after the central government clarified its inability to include a caste-based population count for groups beyond the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the national census.

Reacting on the survey report, Union Minister Giriraj Singh said, “Caste Census will do nothing more than spreading ‘bhram’ among the poor and public of the state. They should have given a report card that Nitish Kumar ruled the state for 18 years and Lalu Yadav ruled the state for 15 years but did not develop the state. Report card of Caste Census is just an eye wash.”

Bihar’s former chief minister and president of RJD Lalu Prasad Yadav hailed the survey report saying, “These figures will set an example for the country in making holistic plans for proper development and progress of the deprived, neglected and poor and in giving representation to marginalized groups in proportion to the population.”

Senior Congress Party leader Rahul Gandhi cited the Bihar caste census data to argue for proportional representation.

“The Caste Census of Bihar has revealed that the OBCs, SCs and ST constitute 84% of its population. Out of 90 secretaries of the Central Government, only 3 are OBC, who handle only 5% of India’s budget. Therefore, it is important to know the caste statistics of India. The greater the population, the greater the rights – this is our pledge,” he posted on ‘X’.

Rahul’s articulation is an emphasis of his party’s stand, which was tweaked in the past couple of years to win back the backward classes which had deserted the Congress. Rahul himself had announced on April 16 this year in Karnataka’s Kolar that the party stands for Caste Census and increasing the 50% cap to provide proportional quota for Dalits, tribals and OBCs.

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