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A file photo of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar.

LIVE | Mandal vs Mandir 2.0: Bihar caste survey throws up interesting numbers

Nitish Kumar govt's enumeration shows OBCs, EBCs comprise over 63% pc of state population; Hindu population at 81.99%, Muslim's at 17.7%

The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar on Monday (October 2) released findings of its much-awaited caste survey, which revealed that OBCs and EBCs constitute a whopping 63 per cent of the state’s total population. The caste survey, discussed and debated for years at length, could mark the beginning of Mandal vs Mandir 2.0, with reservation politics taking communal politics head-on.

According to the data released in Patna by Development Commissioner Vivek Singh, the state’s total population stood at a little over 13.07 crore, out of which, the Extremely Backward Classes (36 per cent) were the largest social segment followed by the Other Backward Classes at 27.13 per cent.

More about caste census: Read from The Federal's archives

The survey also stated that Yadavs, the OBC group to which Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav belongs, were the largest in terms of population, accounting for 14.27 per cent of the total.

Religion-wise break-up

The Hindu population in the state is 81.99 per cent while the Muslim population is 17. 7 per cent, the survey revealed. Christians, Sikhs, Jains and those following other religions as also the non-believers have a minuscule presence, together making up for less than 1 per cent of the total population.

Notably, 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 last time a headcount of all castes was undertaken was way back in 1931. Those calling for a fresh caste survey insist that a new estimate was required mainly for the weaker sections of the society which, with improved life expectancy in the post-Independence era, must have seen a rise in their proportion of the population.

Live Updates

  • 2 Oct 2023 4:05 PM GMT

    Nitish hopes Bihar survey will provide impetus for nationwide caste census

    Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed confidence that the caste survey conducted by his government, findings of which were released on Monday, will provide an impetus for a nationwide census of all social groups.

    Kumar claimed that he had been raising the demand for a nationwide headcount of castes since 1989 when he first became a member of Parliament.

    The JD(U) leader took potshots at the Narendra Modi government for failure to ”conduct even a normal census, which should have taken place in 2021 itself”.

    “Tomorrow, at 3.30 pm, I will hold a meeting where a presentation on the findings of the survey will be made before representatives of all nine parties, which have a presence in the state legislature, and which had given the consent for the survey,” Kumar told reporters in Patna.

  • 2 Oct 2023 2:17 PM GMT

    Congress leader demands caste census in Maharashtra

    Maharashtra Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar on Monday said the state government must conduct a "caste census" on the lines of the one being done in Bihar. In a video message on X (Twitter), the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly also alleged the Eknath Shinde government was running away from such an exercise.

    "On the lines of Bihar government's decision to carry out caste-wise census, Maharashtra government should also do the same. I do not understand why the Maharashtra government is running away from replicating such a census here in the state. Our leader Rahul Gandhi has consistently made the demand for caste-wise census in the country," he tweeted. "I feel it is unfortunate for the state government of CM Eknath Shinde, deputy chief ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar if it is running away from such a census exercise," he added.

    Wadettiwar said Rahul Gandhi had also demanded the Centre reveal details of the caste survey carried out in 2011 when the UPA was in power under Manmohan Singh. The Centre must clarify why details of this 2011 exercise have been kept under wraps, he added.

    He also accused the Maharashtra government of wasting time over reservations for Other Backward Classes and alleged it was not giving data to support quota for the community in local bodies.

    "On one hand, you (BJP) carry out the OBC Jaagar (awareness) Yatra but at the same time you deny people basic information such as details of the caste-wise census. Is the RSS blocking the caste census? The Maharashtra government should clarify its stand on it," Wadettiwar said.

  • 2 Oct 2023 11:56 AM GMT

    Congress moots national caste census

    The Congress welcomed the Bihar government's move to release the findings of the caste census and called upon the Centre to immediately conduct a similar exercise at the national level to ensure social justice and provide a firm foundation for social empowerment programmes.

    Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said the caste census of Bihar has proved that 84 per cent of people in the state are OBCs, SCs and STs and their share should be according to their population. "Out of 90 secretaries of the central government, only 3 are OBC, who handle only 5 per cent of India's budget. Therefore, it is important to know the caste statistics of India...," Rahul tweeted. 

    Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the UPA government led by the Congress had conducted a census but its results were not published by the Modi government.

  • 2 Oct 2023 10:40 AM GMT

    So what else is new, asks Leader of Opposition in Bihar

    Bihar Leader of Opposition Vijay Kumar Sinha passed off the caste census report as a routine one with no surprises.

    "The complete report of the caste-based census will come after the analysis. They have not done anything new," he said about the Nitish Kumar government. "The assumptions that were already there, are in the report. They presented it as a miracle or a big change. Everybody already -knows what you are saying. Everybody knows the data figures. When the area-wise data for OBC and extremely backward class come, then we will know the truth of the survey," he said.

    "This is for creating tension in Bihar. They don't have the mentality for the future, social harmony or development," said Sinha.

  • 2 Oct 2023 10:37 AM GMT

    Hectic work in short span: Tejashwi Yadav

    Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav said his government had worked for social and economic justice. The census had been done at a hectic pace, he added.

    "From the beginning, our demand has been to have a caste-based census. But we have had a caste-based survey. The scientific data of the caste-based survey has been released today," he said.

    "We have done historic work in a short span of time and released the data. Our fight has been for social justice and economic justice. So, the government will make an effort for the same. We will try to bring in welfare schemes based on the scientific data," said the RJD leader.

  • 2 Oct 2023 9:52 AM GMT

    Counting took a while, with legal hurdles

    It has not been a smooth ride for the Bihar caste census.

    The state cabinet gave its nod to hold a caste survey on June 2 last year when it also allocated an amount of Rs 500 crore for the mammoth exercise. The survey briefly ran into rough weather when it was stayed by the Patna High Court which was hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the exercise.

    However, the deadline it then set, of February 2023, was overshot and the survey itself could take off no sooner than January 7 this year.

    Leaders of the ruling Mahagathbandhan in the state have been alleging that those filing petitions were “BJP supporters”, a charge denied by the saffron party which underscores that it was in the government when the cabinet nod was given for the survey.

  • 2 Oct 2023 9:41 AM GMT

    Lalu spreading communal disturbance: Bihar BJP chief

    Bihar BJP President Samrat Choudhary slammed the JD(U)-RJD claims around caste report, saying the BUP has also been supportive of it.

    "This is an incomplete report...It has been Lalu ji's habit to spread communal disturbance...BJP has been a supporter of this survey," said Choudhary.

  • Caste census is just confusion, eyewash, says Giriraj Singh
    2 Oct 2023 9:28 AM GMT

    Caste census is just confusion, eyewash, says Giriraj Singh

    Union Minister Giriraj Singh, reacting to the latest caste numbers in Bihar, said: "Caste census will do nothing more than spreading bhram among the poor and public of the state."

    "They should have given a report card that Nitish Kumar ruled the state for 18 years and Lalu (Prasad) Yadav ruled the state for 15 years but did not develop the state. Report card of Caste Census is just an eye wash..." he said at Begusarai, Bihar.

  • 2 Oct 2023 9:13 AM GMT

    Nitish thanks caste census team

    "Today, on the auspicious occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, the data of caste-based census conducted in Bihar has been published," tweeted Nitish Kumar in Hindi. "Many congratulations to the entire team engaged in the work of caste-based enumeration. The proposal for caste-based enumeration was passed unanimously in the Legislature."  

  • 2 Oct 2023 9:11 AM GMT

    Caste census in MP, too, promises Digvijay Singh

    Former  Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh reacted to the caste survey, saying: "I have always supported this. If we come to power here, we will also get a caste-based census done in Madhya Pradesh."

    Earlier this year, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, in a meeting in Madhya Pradesh, had also promised a caste census if the party came ot power in the Assembly elections, slated for this year-end.

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