Highlights

  • Bihar cabinet approves caste census, allots ₹500 crores
  • Centre said it can't conduct a survey of castes other than SCs/STs
  • Last-caste based census conducted in 1921

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Bihar cabinet gives nod for caste census, sets February 2023 deadline

The state government has embarked on the exercise in the wake of the Centre expressing its inability to undertake headcount of castes other than the SCs and STs as part of the Dalits.

The Bihar cabinet on Thursday gave its nod for a headcount of all castes in the state, allocating a budgetary outlay of Rs 500 crore for the mammoth exercise and setting deadline of February 2023.

Wheels have moved fast in the state where the cabinet nod comes barely a day after an all-party meeting was chaired on the issue by the chief minister.

The state government has embarked on the exercise in the wake of the Centre expressing its inability to undertake headcount of castes other than the SCs and STs as part of the Dalits.

This has led to some resentment in Bihar which has a sizeable population of the OBCs who also dominate the state’s politics. The state's bicameral legislature passed two unanimous resolutions, in 2018 and 2019, in favour of a caste census.

It has been the contention of Kumar, himself an OBC, and the main opposition RJD which emerged in the thick of the Mandal era that a fresh estimate of various social groups was essential since the last caste census was held in 1921, more than a hundred years ago.

Also watch: Nitish after all-party meeting: Bihar to conduct its own caste census

Addressing the same press conference, Additional Chief Secretary of Cabinet Secretariat Department S Siddharth said "details like how many personnel will be engaged in the survey will be made known in the general administration notification”.

He also said district magistrates will be the "nodal authority at district levels".

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