The Bihar legislature on Monday passed the Bill to implement 10 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in general category. The state till now had a quota ceiling of 49.5 per cent, which would now be 59.5 per cent. The legislature also passed a resolution demanding caste-based Census in 2021 from the Centre.
The EWS quota Bill was passed first in Assembly amid a protest by the RJD-led Opposition. The Opposition legislators were demanding Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s resignation over a POCSO court forwarding a petition to CBI to look into roles of senior officials and the CM in the Muzaffarpur shelter case.
Speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary asked the Opposition to produce such a court order and added that the forwarding of a petition did not mean order of a probe. When the House met again in the second half, the quota Bill was presented and passed with a voice vote even as Opposition legislators continued to protest and raise slogans.
The EWS Bill was later tabled in Legislative Council and passed with a voice vote. JD (U) MLC Neeraj Kumar said, “The CM explained in the Upper House how the EWS Bill was brought after due amendment by the Centre and the Bihar government also decided to bring a fresh Bill. He said whatever standards had been decided by the Centre would be applicable in Bihar. There would be clear instructions to circle officers to issue income certificates in a hassle-free manner so that people can avail the benefit of EWS quota.”
The legislature also passed a resolution demanding a caste-based Census in 2021. The Chief Minister told the Council, “I had first raised this demand in 1990 as a Union minister of state in the V P Singh government. The 2011 Census report was just a survey and is full of flaws with no proper categorisation of castes. We demand a thorough caste-based Census in 2021 to know the exact population of each caste or caste group to help extend quota benefits.”
Nitish later told reporters, “EWS Bill should have been passed with consensus voice. But the Opposition is interested in stalling House proceedings.”