Bihar government caste count – The Hindu

Why did the BJP state support the exercise, while the Center opposes a caste census?

Why did the BJP state support the exercise, while the Center opposes a caste census?

The story so far: On Thursday, Bihar’s Cabinet approved a proposal to conduct a caste-based “count” in the state. Stopping short of calling it a census, the Janata Dal (Uni) government, which is an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said the state would spend its own resources on the exercise. The BJP in the Center opposed holding a caste census, but Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the JD(U) had pushed for it. All political parties in Bihar, including the state BJP, had proposed to conduct a caste count.

When will the exercise start?

Details are awaited but Mr. Nitish Kumar said the exercise will be time-limited and its report will be published. The Union government had earlier snubbed the Bihar government’s demand for a caste census on the grounds that it would be an “execution of division”. However, members of the BJP state participated in the multi-party meeting on the issue.

Why do all political parties support him in Bihar?

Almost all political parties in Bihar identify with a particular caste, sub-caste or community in order to be represented, and leaders cannot afford to remove their political identity from that caste or group. The purpose behind this application is to bring out the recent changes in caste groups and the best way to share resources. The data will help the state government understand the exact population of the different caste groups and assess the socio-economic development of each group, as well as the social welfare schemes needed to benefit them.

Why is the BJP in the Center against a caste census? What about state unity?

The Union Government has categorically ruled out the carrying out of a Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC), stating that a caste census (except that for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes traditionally carried out) is impractical, “administratively difficult and heavy”. In the case of Bihar, central BJP leaders believe that the demand for a caste census in the state is an attempt to revive Mandal politics by identifying castes and sub-castes and their current status for electoral benefits. . For the party, the upper castes, which according to a rough estimate represent 14% of the population, constitute a large part of its vote bank, and it fears that in the event of a caste census, the number of other castes, under- castes and communities either known parties and others who claim to represent different subsets of castes might unite against them politically and electorally. Months ago, Bihar’s top BJP leader and Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai told parliament that a caste census could not be carried out. The party’s national spokesman, Guru Prakash Paswan, said a caste census alone would not guarantee social justice; but Rajya Sabha party member and former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi has backed a caste census through his social media posts. Mr. Sushil Modi even said that the BJP has always supported the idea inside and outside the State Assembly. Again, BJP Head of State Sanjay Jaiswal recently said, “Nothing happens in BJP without the will of the central leadership of the party.” Rajiv Ranjan Singh aka Lalan Singh, BJP ruling alliance partner, JD(U) Chairman pointed out that “BJP in Bihar is part of a House resolution on caste census”. The Bihar legislature earlier in 2019 and 2020 passed a resolution for a caste-based census in the state. After Thursday’s Cabinet meeting, Nitish Kumar’s government said there would be a “ganana” or count, and refrained from calling it a census.

What are the benefits of a caste count?

Social equality programs and welfare measures cannot be successfully implemented without comprehensive data and for this a caste count is needed in a state known to be fragmented into multiple castes, sub-castes, groups and communities. In a modern state, a count of each category of citizens is necessary so that they can benefit from all social protection measures, explains political scientist Ajay Kumar. In the absence of such data, there is no proper estimate of the population of the other backward classes (OBC), extremely backward classes (EBC) and several other groups within them, he said. added. According to Mr. Ajay Kumar, a caste-based count goes a long way in bringing some objectivity to the reservations debate. However, Sudhanshu Kumar, Associate Professor at the Center for Economic Policy and Public Finance, Patna, said: “If the objective of a caste-based count is to obtain the distribution of the population by caste, it does not require not an expensive exercise. like a census. Appropriate statistical treatment or analysis of information with the government is sufficient for the purpose of designing public policies. Regular census data already provide useful information for formulating public policy.

Have such exercises taken place in other states?

The government of Tamil Nadu appointed a commission to formulate a methodology to collect caste information from its population and use it to write a report. States like Karnataka, Odisha and Telangana have conducted caste counts, calling it a “socio-economic survey”.

THE ESSENTIAL

On Thursday, the Bihar Cabinet, along with the state’s BJP, approved a proposal to conduct a caste-based ‘count’ in the state

All political parties support the proposal as it will help the government understand the exact population of the different caste groups and assess the socio-economic development of each group.

The Union government flatly ruled out carrying out a caste census as it would be “administratively difficult and cumbersome”. In the case of Bihar, central BJP leaders believe that the demand for a caste census in the state is an attempt to revive Mandal politics.

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