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Day after EWS verdict, Nitish Kumar says remove 50% quota cap

Links SC EWS quota decision to need for all-India caste census

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during his visit to offer prayers at the Takht Harmandir Sahib Gurudwara on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti, in Patna, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. (PTI Photo)

A day after the Supreme Court upheld the 10 per cent quota for Economically Backward Classes (EWS), Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday demanded that the 50 per cent quota cap should be increased and reiterated his demand for a nationwide caste census.

Bihar has been conducting its own caste census based on the socio-economic criteria, though the state has not exceeded the 50 per cent quota cap.

Read in Explained |4 questions in EWS judgment

Talking to reporters here on Tuesday, Kumar said: “We have been saying all along what the Supreme Court said by upholding the EWS quota. 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.”

Demanding a revision of the 50 per cent quota cap, the Bihar CM said: “The 50 per cent quota cap needs to be increased. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are even getting reservations in promotion. Let us see the result of the caste census. We will get to know people’s socio-economic conditions. But the time has come to revisit the 50 per cent cap.”

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JD(U) national spokesperson KC Tyagi told The Indian Express: “We have always been a supporter of economic criteria-based reservation, besides one’s social status. CM Karpoori Thakur had given three per cent reservation to the poor among the Upper Castes and a three per cent quota to women. In a sense, we are pioneers. Nitish Kumar had set up an Upper Caste commission and the government followed its recommendations by giving benefits of scholarship and other schemes to the poor students from among the general category.”

The SC judgment came as a shot in the arm to socialist parties like JD (U) and RJD to further press their demand for a nationwide caste census, which the Centre turned down last year.

First published on: 08-11-2022 at 20:01 IST
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