Bihar notifies quota hike after Governor signs bills
Under the new provisions, based on the findings of the landmark caste survey in the state, the quota for scheduled (SC) goes up to 20%, while that of scheduled tribe (ST) to 2%, extremely backward classes (EBC) to 25% and other backward classes (OBC) to 18%.
The Bihar government issued the gazette notification for the two quota bills on Tuesday after Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar signed the Bihar reservation of vacancies in posts and services (For SC, ST, EBC and OBC) amendment Bill and the Bihar (In admission in educational, institutions) reservation amendment Bill, 2023, to pave the way for the increase in quota from the existing 50% to 65%.
The two bills were signed on November 18 itself, though became public on Tuesday only.
Bihar Legislative Assembly had on November 9 passed the two bills unanimously.
With this, total reservation in the state will reach 75% after adding the 10% quota to the economically weaker sections (EWS).
Under the new provision, based on the findings of the landmark caste survey in the state, the quota for scheduled (SC) goes up to 20%, while that of scheduled tribe (ST) to 2%, extremely backward classes (EBC) to 25% and other backward classes (OBC) to 18%.
Earlier, total reservation in Bihar was 50%.
“On analysis of data collected during ‘Caste based Survey 2022-23, it is apparent that large section of backward classes, schedule caste and schedule tribe need to be promoted for them to catch up to satisfy cherished aim in the Constitution of equality in opportunity and status,” says the gazette notification.
It further says that “the members of SC/ST and other backward classes have remained deprived and marginalized for centuries. Though affirmative action has led to improvement in their life to certain extent, the ultimate goal of equality has not yet been achieved. Date further strengthens the perception that in addition to measures already in place the State is required to take further measures to accelerate ultimate object of proportional equality”.
The survey – the first in independent India to successfully enumerate all castes – had found that EBCs, which comprise 112 castes, and the OBC — formed by 30 communities — together comprised 63.13% of the state population. Scheduled castes form 19.65% and scheduled tribes 1.68%.
Upper castes were found to be 15.52% of the state’s population.
Though BJP backed the bills in the House, the party and its allies have questioned the veracity of the survey, with several caste groups claiming that their number is less than what they perceived.
However, chief minister Nitish Kumar had brushed aside these apprehensions in the Assembly, saying how could anyone question the data when it is the first-time caste-based count has been done since 1931.
“The bill is expected to shake up heartland politics. It certainly has the potential. However, it will be interesting to watch how far it goes to benefit the I.N.D.I.A bloc. Now Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is also talking by about it strongly and promising caste-based census in the country. The buildup will be key,” said D M Diwakar, former director of AN Sinha Institute of Social Studies.
Later, the CM held a high-level meeting with the top officials for effective implementation of the two quota bills so that the benefits could reach the targeted groups.