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Bihar Caste Survey: Uncovering Insights and Societal Impact



  Oct 03, 2023

Caste Survey in Bihar:Findings and Effects


Q1: What is a caste-based survey in Bihar?

A1: The caste-based survey in Bihar is a comprehensive study conducted by the government to gather data about the population's caste composition. It aims to provide information about the distribution of different caste groups in the state.
 

Q2: What are the major findings of the Bihar caste-based survey?

A2: The survey revealed that:
 
Other Backward Classes (OBCs) constitute approximately 27.13% of the population.
Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs) make up around 36.01%.
Scheduled Castes (SCs) account for about 19.65%.
Scheduled Tribes (STs) represent roughly 1.68%.
Upper Castes comprise approximately 15.52%.
Hindus make up about 82% of the population, while Muslims account for about 17.71%.
 

Q3: Why is this survey important?

A3: The survey is significant because it provides valuable data about the social and demographic composition of Bihar. It can be used for policymaking, social development, and ensuring equitable representation of various communities.
 

Q4: What are the implications of the survey results?

A4: The data can influence political strategies, resource allocation, and social welfare programs. It can also shed light on disparities among different caste groups and guide efforts to address them.
 

Q5: How might this survey impact elections?

A5: The survey results can be crucial in understanding the voting patterns and preferences of different caste groups in Bihar. Politicians may use this data to tailor their campaigns and strategies.
 

Q6: Who conducted the survey, and when was it conducted?

A6: The survey was initiated by the government of Bihar, led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. It was conducted in three phases and completed in August. It involved 2.64 lakh enumerators documenting details from 29 million households.
 

Q7: Did the survey include an economic profile of the castes?

A7: No, the survey did not include an economic profile of the castes. It primarily focused on demographic and social data.
 

Q8: Will there be a similar caste-based survey at the national level?

 
A8: Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi has called for a similar survey at the national level, but there is no official confirmation about such an endeavor at the moment.
 

Q9: Is this survey related to government policies and welfare schemes?

A9: Yes, the survey was initiated for the upliftment of backward and extremely backward communities and to aid in the implementation of welfare schemes in Bihar.
 

Q10: How have political parties reacted to the survey results?

A10: Political parties are analyzing the data, and reactions vary. Some parties see it as an opportunity to understand voter demographics, while others question its utility.
 

Implications and Impact

The recently released caste survey in Bihar has the potential to challenge the existing 50% reservation limit for jobs and educational institutions, as well as reshape the politics associated with Mandal Commission recommendations, according to observers.
 

Key points about the caste survey's implications:

Reservation Ceiling Challenge: The survey indicates that Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs) together make up 63% of Bihar's population. This data could provide grounds for challenging the 50% reservation ceiling currently in place. The Supreme Court had accepted this limit in the 1992 Indira Sawhney vs. Union of India case.
 
Recalibration of Mandal Politics: The Mandal politics of the 1990s, which led to the implementation of reservations for OBCs, may see a recalibration. In recent years, there has been a shift in OBC support towards different political parties. The survey might lead to demands for proportional representation within the OBC bloc and a reconsideration of the 50% reservation cap.
 
Political Implications: Home Minister Amit Shah highlighted the BJP's strong OBC representation in Parliament and state legislatures (referred to as Mandal 2.0). The Opposition, particularly the Indian National Developmental, Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc, could use the survey findings to argue that OBC reservations have not seen significant progress and to advocate for OBC reservations within the women's reservation Act.
 
Leadership Boost: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who has gained support from the EBCs over the years, may see his leadership within the INDIA bloc parties strengthen. With EBCs constituting 36% of Bihar's population, Kumar's claims to leadership in the bloc could become more prominent.
 
The impact of the caste survey on politics will depend on how effectively the findings are communicated to the voters and how political parties leverage this data for their agendas.


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