Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday proposed to increase the caste-based reservations in education and government jobs to 65% from the current 50% in the state, reported India Today.

Kumar made the announcement after releasing a full report on the caste census in the state Assembly. Under the proposed plan, Scheduled Castes will get a reservation of 20%, while the Other Backward Classes and the Extremely Backward Classes will get a 43% quota. This will be a significant jump for the Other Backward Classes and the Extremely Backward Classes from the current 30% quota. Scheduled Tribes will get a 2% reservation.

Combined with the 10% quota for Economically Weaker Sections, the total reservation in the state will go up to 75%. A bill to expand reservations will be tabled in the Assembly on Friday, reported News18.

In 1992, the Supreme Court had capped total caste-based reservations to 50%.

Explainer: How Supreme Court put in place a 50% quota cap (and why it’s frequently breached)

Caste survey results

The caste survey report tabled by the chief minister showed that 34.13% of families living in Bihar have a monthly income of Rs 6,000 or less, PTI reported. This meanmore than 94 lakh families of the state’s total 2.97 crore families have been categorised as “poor”.

It further said that about 29.61% of the households, or 81.91 lakh families, earned between Rs 6,000 and Rs 10,000 per month. This means that over 63% of the families in the state have a monthly income of up to Rs 10,000.

Only 18.06% of families have a monthly income of between Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000 and 9.83% of households earn between Rs 20,000 and Rs 50,000 per month.

The survey report also said that over 50 lakh people from Bihar were living outside the state in search of better education opportunities or livelihood. Of these, 46 lakh were living in other states in India and 2.17 lakh in other countries.

The Bihar government launched the caste survey in January after the Centre said it would not undertake such an exercise for communities other than the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes as part of the decennial census.

The findings of this survey were released by the Bihar government on October 2. It said that the Other Backward Classes and the Extremely Backward Classes constitute over 63% of the state’s population.

Bihar’s total population stood at a little over 13.07 crore, the survey said. Of this, the Extremely Backward Classes, at 36%, were the largest social segment followed by the Other Backward Classes at 27.13%. The population of the Scheduled Castes stood at 19.7% and the Scheduled Tribes at 1.7%. Bihar’s general population accounted for the remaining 15.5%.

Bihar’s ruling coalition mainly comprising the Janata Dal (United), the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress has argued that the caste survey has helped identify the true population of the Other Backward Classes and other castes, allowing the state to craft policies for them more efficiently and equitably.

On Sunday, Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Union Home Minsiter Amit Shah had alleged that the caste survey had inflated the number of Muslims and Yadavs in Bihar and reduced the number of Extremely Backward Classes as part of the state government’s appeasement politics.