Patna, November 7 (Language) According to a caste survey report presented in the Bihar Assembly on Tuesday, more than one-third of the families living in the state are living in poverty and their monthly income is six thousand rupees or less.
The report also acknowledged that there is considerable poverty among the upper castes. However, this percentage is estimated to be much higher among backward classes, Dalits and tribals.
According to the report presented by Bihar Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, there are about 2.97 crore families in the state, out of which more than 94 lakh (34.13 percent) families are poor.
Chaudhary presented a detailed report of the caste-based census conducted by the state government, the preliminary findings of which were made public on October 2 in the presence of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, among others.
Chaudhary termed the process as ‘historic’ and claimed the data to be ‘authentic’. Refuting allegations by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that the ruling ‘grand alliance’ in the state was “manipulating” the figures for political gain, he said, “We must remember that increase in the population percentage of a caste is not an achievement. Not there. Similarly, a decline in percentage does not mean loss.
The minister also expressed displeasure over the cases filed earlier in the Patna High Court and the Supreme Court challenging the survey on various grounds. However, the apex court had declared the process ‘legitimate’.
The minister indirectly took a dig at the central government by referring to the concerns raised by the Solicitor General of India over the survey.
On this occasion, he also reiterated that despite two resolutions passed unanimously by both houses of the Bihar Legislature regarding this demand and a personal request to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by an all-party delegation led by the Chief Minister, the Center expressed reluctance to conduct the caste survey, due to which The state government got the survey done at its own level.
He also said that the survey findings indicated several positive aspects. He said the literacy rate has improved from 69.8 per cent to 79.8 per cent as per 2011 census and women have made relatively quantum leaps in terms of education.
It is not surprising that the sex ratio has also improved in the state, where the number of females per 1000 males has increased from 918 to 953, the minister said.
According to other important findings of the report, more than 50 lakh Biharis are living outside the state in search of livelihood or better education opportunities.
The number of people earning their living in other states outside Bihar is around 46 lakh while another 2.17 lakh people are living abroad.
The number of people studying in other states is about 5.52 lakh while about 27,000 are also studying abroad.
According to the preliminary findings of the report, the share of Other Backward Classes (OBC) and Extremely Backward Classes (EBC) in the total population of the state is more than 60 percent while the share of upper castes in the population is about 10 percent.
According to the report presented before the Bihar Assembly, the poverty rate (more than 25 percent) is high among the upper castes in the state.
The most prosperous upper caste in the Hindu community are the numerically small Kayasthas. Only 13.83 percent of households in the largely urbanized community are poor.
According to the report, the poverty rate in Bhumihar community was surprisingly recorded at 27.58 percent whereas it is believed that this community owns the maximum land in Bihar.
According to preliminary findings of this survey, Yadavs are the most prominent OBC group with 14 percent share in the total population. Various social classes were enumerated in the 1931 census and have retained their position as the most populous community since then.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday targeted the Nitish Kumar government of Bihar, alleging that it is deliberately increasing the population of Muslims and Yadavs in the state’s caste survey as part of ‘appeasement politics’.
Shah accused Nitish of working under pressure from his ally Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad. Both these communities are considered strong supporters of Lalu Prasad.
The details presented in the report state that despite rising politically, the Yadavs have not been able to overcome poverty to a large extent and more than 35 percent of the community is poor.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar comes from the Kurmi community and according to the survey, about 30 percent of his population is poor.
The survey also took into account the caste divide among Muslims who together constitute more than 17 per cent of the state’s population. Sayyad has the lowest poverty rate at 17.61 percent.
According to the survey, 42.91 percent of the families in Scheduled Castes are poor while the number of poor in Scheduled Tribes is 42.78 percent.
Language Anwar Rajkumar Dheeraj