Bihar increases reservation quota for SC and EBC

PATNA: In AN important administrative move that promises to have far-reaching political gains for the ruling RJD, the Bihar government increased the percentage of reservation for Scheduled and extremely Backward Castes.

On Tuesday, the Cabinet also slashed reservation for Scheduled Tribes from the existing 10 per cent to one per cent. This probably was done since most of the Scheduled Tribe population has moved over to Jharkhand. Earlier, the Scheduled Tribe population was around 23 per cent in Bihar but has dropped to just five per cent now. Barring some pockets of Bhagalpur and Katihar and around fout per cent in Champaran in north Bihar, the other districts have no Scheduled Tribe population at all.

This decision is also not likely to affect the interest of the ruling RJD. Instead, increasing the reservation quota for the EBCs from 14 per cent to 18 per cent will help its leader Laloo Prasad to build his base among these castes. The Cabinet re-adjusted the reservation and increased the quota for Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes from 14 to 15 per cent and from 10 to 13 per cent respectively. The EBCs have been demanding a raise in their reservation quota for quite some time now.

But this increase will pose a major threat to the popularity of Dalit leader and Union Ministers Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan. Of late, both these leaders have been trying to build their base amongst the EBCs and Dalits. Nitish has even voiced his concern for the EBCs at their recent meeting. Now Laloo has snatched this initiative from Nitish and Paswan.

Undoubtedly, both Paswan and Kumar will have to strive hard to regain their support base amongst the EBCs. Paswan particularly has been striving hard to emerge as the EBC's and Dalits' spokesman and project himself as their leader.

Giving out the details, Cabinet Secretary Girija Shankar observed: ``After the division of Bihar, the tribal population has gone over to Jharkhand. Obviously the need for reorientation of the reservation arose and cabinet took the decision, since there has been no need for 10 per cent reservation (for tribals).

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Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: May 25, 2001
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