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Caste-Based Reservation vs. Economic-Based Reservation: A Public Opinion Survey in Bihar

In a recent survey conducted in Bihar, the age-old debate surrounding reservations has been reignited, capturing the diverse opinions of the state’s residents. The survey aimed to gauge public sentiment on issues related to caste-based and economic-based reservations, revealing intriguing findings. Caste-Based vs. Economic-Based Reservation When asked whether they support caste-based reservation, a notable 53.29% […]

In a recent survey conducted in Bihar, the age-old debate surrounding reservations has been reignited, capturing the diverse opinions of the state’s residents. The survey aimed to gauge public sentiment on issues related to caste-based and economic-based reservations, revealing intriguing findings.
Caste-Based vs. Economic-Based Reservation

When asked whether they support caste-based reservation, a notable 53.29% of respondents advocated for reservations targeting the economically disadvantaged, regardless of caste or religion. On the other hand, 36.83% favored providing reservations based on economic criteria rather than caste. A minority, 6.59%, still supported traditional caste-based reservations.

Separate Reservations for Upper Castes
A significant majority, 72.54%, expressed their belief in providing separate reservations for economically disadvantaged individuals from upper castes. Only 23.07% disagreed with this proposition, with 4.39% remaining undecided.

Reservation, Caste Census, and Economic Survey
Many participants felt that the issue of reservation was closely entangled with the data from caste census and economic surveys. A significant 74.73% believed these factors were interconnected, whereas 15.38% disagreed, and 9.89% were uncertain.

The Political Implications
Opinions were divided on whether Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had fallen into the political trap of the caste census. A substantial 77.48% felt that he was indeed ensnared in this dilemma, while 11.53% disagreed, and 10.99% remained uncertain.

Beneficiaries of Caste Census
When it came to predicting which political party in Bihar would benefit most from the caste census, the opinions varied. While 26.92% believed that all major parties – JDU, RJD, and BJP – would benefit, 19.24% remained uncertain. Among the specific parties, RJD garnered 18.68% support, followed by BJP at 16.37%, and JDU at 8.79%.

The survey provides valuable insights into the dynamic and evolving perspectives of the people of Bihar regarding reservations, reflecting their nuanced opinions on the roles of caste and economic status in the allocation of opportunities and resources. As the debate continues, it remains to be seen how these views will influence political decisions and policies in the state.

More than a third of families in Bihar are making do with an income of Rs 200 or less a day or a maximum monthly earnings of Rs 6,000, while the percentage of SC-ST families living on similar income is nearly 43, according to the Caste Survey report tabled in the state assembly on Tuesday. According to the report, the state is home to about 2.97 crore families out of which more than 94 lakh (34.13 per cent) live on an income of Rs 6,000 or less a month.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary who tabled the report said the literacy rate has risen from 69.8 per cent as per the 2011 census to 79.8 per cent. The percentage of households who live on less than Rs 6000 a month or less than Rs 200 a day among the Scheduled tribe households (42.91 per cent) was almost the same as among scheduled caste households (42.78 per cent).

The report has also come out with several other important findings like more than 50 lakh people of Bihar are living outside the state in search of livelihood or better education opportunities. Those earning a living in other states numbered around 46 lakh, while another 2.17 lakh have found greener pastures abroad.

Those pursuing studies in other states numbered about 5.52 lakh while about 27,000 were doing the same in foreign countries. The preliminary findings had established that OBCs and EBCs constituted more than 60 per cent of the state’s total population while the upper castes accounted for about 10 per cent.

 

 

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