Bihar government is set to introduce a scholarship for “economically backward” students from upper castes of both Hindus and Muslim communities. The Nitish Kumar government is waiting for the formal submission of the Bihar Upper Caste Commission report. The government has already been giving scholarships to backward and Dalit students till the middle-school level.
Government sources said the Human Resource Department had been waiting for a nod from the Chief Minister, who expects the Bihar Upper Caste Commission to submit its much-awaited report soon. The commission was set up about five years ago to study the economic conditions of upper caste Hindus and Muslims to identify “economically backward” pockets in order to extend them government benefits.
Dropping hints about the move, Kumar said at Madhubani Thursday that scholarship benefits might be extended to upper caste students once the upper caste commission submits its report.
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At present, the state government gives Rs 600 scholarship annually to a Class I to IV OBC and SC/ST student, Rs 1,200 to a Class V to VI student and Rs 1,800 to a Class VII and VIII student.
Former member of the commission and BJP MLC Sanjay Mayukh said, “NDA government under Nitish Kumar had made it clear to the commission to concentrate first on doing surveys of upper castes students’ economic status”. Mayukh said the survey focussed on land holdings and annual earning of a family.
Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) had been entrusted with task of doing survey. ADRI member secretary Shaibal Gupta told The Indian Express: “We conducted survey in 20 of 38 districts and took about 10,000 samples from upper caste Hindus and Muslims families. Though deciding on criteria for giving scholarship is purely policy decision, a big number of upper caste students had faced economic constraints.”