A Caste Survey report unveiled alarming statistics, indicating that more than a third of families in Bihar are struggling to make ends meet on a meagre income of Rs 200 or less per day, with a maximum monthly earnings of Rs 6,000. Furthermore, the report highlights that the percentage of Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) families facing similar financial challenges stands at nearly 43%.
According to the survey, Bihar is home to approximately 2.97 crore families, of which more than 94 lakh, or 34.13%, live on an income of Rs 6,000 or less per month.
The report, tabled in the state assembly by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, also points out an increase in the literacy rate, which has risen from 69.8% as per the 2011 census to 79.8%.
The percentage of households living on less than Rs 6000 a month or less than Rs 200 a day is nearly identical among Scheduled Tribe households (42.91%) and Scheduled Caste households (42.78%).
Minister Chaudhary countered the opposition’s claims that the numbers had been manipulated for political purposes. He described the caste survey as “historic” and raised concerns about legal challenges, despite the Supreme Court’s endorsement of its validity.
The survey also sheds light on other findings, such as the fact that more than 50 lakh people from Bihar are living outside the state in search of livelihood or better education opportunities, with around 46 lakh working in other Indian states and 2.17 lakh abroad. Additionally, over 5.52 lakh individuals pursue their studies in other Indian states, while approximately 27,000 do so in foreign countries.
The report underscores various positive developments, including the improved literacy rate, with a more substantial increase among females. The preliminary findings of the survey had previously indicated that Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs) constitute over 60% of Bihar’s population, while the upper castes account for about 10%.
Intriguingly, the report reveals that more than 25% of upper castes in Bihar earn Rs 6000 or less per month, with exceptions like the Kayasthas (13.83%) and Bhumihars (27.58%). The dominant OBC group, Yadavs, representing 14% of the total population, has faced criticism regarding their numerical strength. The report highlights that more than 35% of Yadavs have a monthly income ceiling of Rs 6000, despite their political influence.
The survey also delves into the caste divisions among Muslims, who make up over 17% of Bihar’s population, indicating that 17.61% of Sayyads, claiming descent from the family of the Prophet, earn Rs 6000 per month or less.