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OBCs Dominate Bihar’s Population; Key Insights from Recent Caste Survey

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Bihar: In a historic move, Bihar has become the first state in India to release data from a caste-based survey which has unveiled some significant findings. According to the data, the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) make up a substantial 63% of Bihar’s total population, with the Extremely Backward Classes emerging as the largest segment within this category. This revelation, coming just ahead of the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha elections, is expected to fuel demands from the opposition’s INDIA bloc for a similar nationwide census.

The survey, overseen by the Bihar government, divulges that the Backward Classes constitute 27% of the state’s population, while the Extremely Backward Classes make up a substantial 36%. Additionally, the Scheduled Castes account for 19.65%,  while 1.68% belong to Scheduled Tribes. The further demographic breakdown reveals that the Kushwaha and Kurmi communities comprise 4.27% and 2.87% of the population, respectively. The total population of Bihar stands at slightly over 13.07 crore, with the General category constituting only 15.52%.

According to the report, the survey also sheds light on the dominance of the Yadav community, which includes Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav. This community emerges as the largest sub-group among the OBC categories, accounting for 14.27% of all OBC categories.

The release of this report is expected to spark political debates and discussions. There is likely to be a surge in demands for increasing quotas for OBCs, which are currently capped at 27%. The newly revealed data, which comes just a few months prior to the 2024 Lok Sabha election, indicates that OBCs now make up a significant 63.1% of Bihar’s population.

In response to the release of the survey data, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar praised the entire team involved in the survey and pledged further actions for the development and upliftment of all sections of society.

Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav also called this moment “historic” and “Decades of struggle”. “Now the government will quickly ensure the overall development and participation of the deprived sections in the light of these figures”, he said.

However, Union Minister and BJP leader Giriraj Singh dismissed the survey report as an “eyewash” and called on Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav to provide a report card of their combined 33 years of rule.

The survey was ordered last year after the Narendra Modi government at the Centre made it clear that it would not be able to undertake a headcount of castes other than SCs and STs as part of the census. The decision to conduct a caste survey was taken by the Bihar government in June last year.

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