Bihar governor Rajendra Arlekar gave his assent to the two reservation amendment bills brought forth in the wake of the caste-based survey and the state government promptly notified it in the state gazette on Tuesday, turning them into acts thereby increasing the quota for the scheduled castes (SC), scheduled tribes (ST), other backward castes (OBC) and extremely backward castes (EBC) by 15 per cent.
The bicameral state legislature had passed the respective amendment bills on November 9 and the government was waiting for the governor’s nod.
The Bihar Reservation of Vacancies in Posts and Services (For Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes) (Amendment) Act 2023, and The Bihar (In Admission in Educational Institutions) Reservation (Amendment) Act 2023, take the reservation for SC, ST, OBC and EBC in the state from 50 per cent to 65 per cent in government jobs and educational institutions.
With the amendment in place now, the SC will get 20 per cent, ST 2 per cent, EBC 25 per cent and OBC 18 per cent reservation in the state. Over and above these, the economically weaker sections (EWS) get a 10 per cent reservation, thereby taking the overall reservation in Bihar to 75 per cent.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar chaired a meeting with his senior officials at his 1, Aney Marg official residence and directed them to fully implement the provisions of the reservation amendment acts.
“We also assessed the economic condition of the people in the caste-based survey and have decided to provide Rs 2 lakh to every poor family. We will also provide Rs 1 lakh to landless families to purchase land for housing purposes,” Nitish said.
As per the survey report, around 94.42 lakh or 34.13 per cent of total families in Bihar are poor, with an income of up to Rs 6,000 per month only.
The chief minister added that women self-help groups (SHGs) under the World Bank-aided Bihar Rural Livelihoods Project, popularly known as Jeevika would now be formed in urban areas of the state as well.
Around 1.30 crore women are at present a part of the Jeevika SHGs in the state and the Nitish government now aims to increase their number to 1.50 crore.
Nitish’s Janata Dal United (JDU) and Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) are already planning a campaign to publicise their role in the caste-based survey and the reservation amendment Acts with eyes on the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.