In a bid to extend benefits of education and welfare schemes to the upper caste poor, the Bihar government has laid down provisions for issuing caste certificates to those belonging to Hindu upper castes — Rajputs, Brahmins, Bhumihars and Kayasthas— and Muslim upper castes—Sheikh, Sayyed and Pathan (Khan).
The move comes at a time when RJD, JD (U) and Congress have asked the Centre to reveal the caste census report. The government issued the notification Monday on the recommendations of the Bihar State Upper Caste Commission.
The commission has recommended that the benefits of the schemes should be extended to the poor from the upper castes. In all, it has made 12 recommendations, which the government will implement in a phased manner. The education department will start implementing two schemes for the upper caste poor students.
An upper caste student whose family’s annual income is less than Rs 1.5 lakh will get Rs 10,000 on passing Class X board exam with first division. Earlier, only girls from upper castes, irrespective of their annual family income, enjoyed benefits of the scheme. Also, poor upper caste students studying in Classes I to X will get scholarships ranging from Rs 600 to Rs Rs 1,800 annually. The government has earmarked Rs 100.12 crore for the schemes, which will be implemented with immediate effect.
Narendra Kumar Singh, a member of the upper caste commission, said: “Since we do not have the numbers, the exact number of beneficiaries would be determined on the basis of castes and income certificates.”He said the Asian Development Research Institute has been asked to conduct sample surveys on the economic status of upper caste Hindus and Muslims. “The findings showed that a good number of upper caste families had annual incomes less than Rs 1.5 lakh per year,” said Singh.
JD (U) spokesperson K C Tyagi said: “It is gratifying that Nitish Kumar, a backward CM, has implemented recommendations of the upper caste commission. There is an OBC PM who is sitting on the caste census report.”