Bihar Cabinet Passes Resolution Demanding Special Category Status
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar speaks during the Winter session of the Legislative Assembly, in Patna, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023. Image Courtesy: PTI
Patna: After releasing the caste survey report and increasing reservation, the Nitish Kumar-led coalition officially demanded a special category status for Bihar on Wednesday. The BJP-led NDA government had repeatedly denied the grant of special status to Bihar.
The Kumar-chaired Cabinet passed a resolution demanding a special category status given the socioeconomic data of the caste survey, which showed that Bihar remains a backward state with a large number of poor people, nearly one-third of the population.
In a lengthy post on X mentioning that the Cabinet passed the resolution, Kumar highlighted the socioeconomic data of the report.
Nearly, 94 lakh families in the state are poor, he wrote. For their betterment, the government has decided to launch schemes that would incur an expenditure of nearly Rs 2.50 lakh crore, he added.
“Since a huge amount of money is required for these works, a target has been set to complete them in five years. If Bihar gets the status of a special state by the Central government, we will complete this work in a very short time.”
The state government’s decision to increase reservation aligns with the caste survey data, which revealed castes' actual situation and socioeconomic status.
According to the survey, Bihar comprises 215 castes with a population of 13.7 crore. This includes 36% EBCs, 27% OBCs (combining OBCs and EBCs), 19% SCs (Dalits) and 1.68% STs (Adivasis).
According to the survey, these families are living in abject poverty with a mere monthly income of Rs 6,000. Most families are Dalits, Adivasis, OBCs and EBCs.
As per the data, 42.93% of SC, 42.70% of ST, 33.16% of OBC and 33.58% of EBC families are poor. Among the SCs, poverty is highest among the Musahar community, one of the most marginalised communities in the country’s caste hierarchy. About 54% of Musahar families are poor, followed by 53% of Bhuiyans and 42% of Chamars.
Kumar reminded that the demand for a special category status is old. The demand, raised by Kumar during the Winter Session, remains relevant as the state continues to require special assistance from the Centre for its development just as it did over a decade ago and earlier.
In 2010, Kumar launched a campaign for a special category status saying it was the right of Biharis. Subsequently, the JD(U) submitted 1.25 crore signatures in support of the demand in 2011 to then-Prime Minister (PM) Manmohan Singh. In 2012 and 2013, Kumar took out the Adhikar Yatra in Patna and Delhi, respectively.
Special status for Bihar was the JD(U)’s main poll plank in the 2009 Lok Sabha, 2010 Assembly, 2014 Lok Sabha and 2015 Assembly elections.
Kumar had repeatedly accused PM Narendra Modi of betraying the people of Bihar after he promised special status during his 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign. Kumar had raised the issue at the Inter-State Council meeting in Delhi in July 2016.
After Kumar dumped the BJP in 2013, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi in March 2014 had launched a campaign to woo voters by promising that the state would be accorded a special category status if Modi became PM.
At the time, BJP leaders had said it was an attempt to counter Kumar’s Sankalp Yatra over the denial of special status by the Congress-led UPA government. In fact, BJP leaders claimed only Modi could fulfil the special status demand.
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