Sops for upper caste students

The state government today issued a notification saying it would give out doles to children from upper caste Hindu and Muslim families whose annual income was below Rs 1.5 lakh.

By Dipak Mishra
  • Published 14.07.15
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Chief minister Nitish Kumar at the news meet after his janata durbar on Monday. Picture by Deepak Kumar

Patna, July 13: The state government today issued a notification saying it would give out doles to children from upper caste Hindu and Muslim families whose annual income was below Rs 1.5 lakh.

The notification also directed officials concerned to issue caste certificates to upper caste students. So far, only members of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Extremely Backward Classes needed a caste certificate.

The move, being perceived as a balancing act of chief minister Nitish Kumar, has been initiated at a time when the RJD-JDU-Congress alliance is demanding the caste census report in the public domain.

The decisions were taken on the recommendation of an upper caste commission the Nitish government constituted in January 2011. The commission made the recommendations in April this year.

Under the chief minister's incentive scheme, children of upper castes who pass the matriculation exam in first class would be entitled to a scholarship of Rs 10,000, provided their family's income does not exceed Rs 1.5 lakh per annum.

Also, the upper caste children would be eligible for stipends given to students from Class I-X. The notification lists Brahmins, Bhumihars, Rajputs and Kayasthas among Hindu upper castes and Syeds, Sheikhs and Pathans among Muslims.

Although Nitish had promised relief to the "poor among upper castes", the timing of this decision is important. A JDU MLA said Nitish was doing a "balancing act" against the backdrop of his government cracking down on two upper caste party MLAs - Anant Singh and Sunil Pandey - and ally Lalu Prasad trying to whip up Mandal-age passions.

Upper castes constitute around 11 per cent of votes in the state.