Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday demanded the 50% cap on reservations in the country should be removed, reported PTI.
The Janata Dal (United) leader’s comments came a day after the Supreme Court delivered a three-two verdict upholding the validity of the 10% quota in educational institutions and jobs for the Economically Weaker Sections of the general quota introduced by the Modi government in 2019.
Addressing reporters in Patna on Tuesday, Kumar welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court to back the Centre’s decision as constitutionally valid. “We were always in support of the quota,” he said. “But it is high time that the limit of 50% be raised. The cap is depriving OBCs [Other Backward Classes] and EBCs [Extremely Backward Classes] of opportunities in proportion to their population.”
The chief minister also reiterated his demand for a fresh nationwide caste census.
“We have been saying all along what the Supreme Court said by upholding the EWS [Economically Weaker Sections] quota,” Kumar said, reported The Indian Express. “We are doing a caste census taking into account the economic status of a family, besides other considerations. That is why we have been asking for a nationwide caste census.”
Earlier in June, Kumar had said that a “caste-based count” rather than a census will be conducted in Bihar so that every section of the society can progress properly.
Kumar belongs to the Other Backward Classes and emerged as a national leader during the protests over the Mandal Commission recommendations for quota for the backward castes.
In 1990, the Union government had decided to accept the recommendations of the Mandal Commission and extend affirmative action benefits to Other Backward Classes – a vast collection of caste groups that lie between upper castes and Dalits in the social order.
As per the Mandal Commission, OBCs amount to 52% – estimated using data from 1931, the last caste census conducted in India.