Patna: In a significant legislative move, the Bihar Assembly has unanimously passed the 75% reservation bill, marking a momentous change in the state’s reservation policies. Notably, no member in the House opposed the bill, and it received support from all political quarters, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This development comes on the heels of the recently released caste survey report, which paved the way for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s announcement regarding the new reservation limits.
The implementation of this groundbreaking legislation means that the unreserved quota will now be reduced to only 25%, while 75% of government job and educational institution seats will be reserved. This monumental shift in Bihar’s reservation policies is expected to have far-reaching implications, not only on the state’s political landscape but also on the national stage.
VIDEO | "The BJP fully supports the bill to increase reservations for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, and Extremely Backward Classes in state jobs and educational institutions. The BJP has always been of the view that the country cannot develop without… pic.twitter.com/xwK4eefm0s— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) November 9, 2023
The impact of this decision by the Nitish Kumar government is likely to resonate in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections next year and, subsequently, in the Bihar Assembly elections scheduled for 2025. The move will undoubtedly reshape the dynamics of vote bank politics in the state, making it a pivotal issue to watch in the coming years. Furthermore, this bold step could potentially spark discussions and calls for similar amendments to reservation provisions in other Indian states.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar‘s decision to revamp the existing reservation system follows the release of the caste survey report. Under the Reservation Amendment Bill-2023, a provision has been introduced to grant an additional 15 percent reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes in government services. This historic move is being hailed as a revolutionary step by the JDU and RJD coalition government in Bihar.
Key Changes in the New Reservation Policy
Under the new reservation policy, several significant changes are set to take effect:
SC Quota Increase: The SC (Scheduled Caste) quota will be raised from the existing 16% to 20%, providing enhanced opportunities for marginalized communities.
ST Quota Expansion: The ST (Scheduled Tribe) quota will see an increase from 1% to 2%, extending further support to tribal communities.
OBCs and EBCs Integration: Bihar, with a 27% OBC (Other Backward Classes) population, currently offers them 12% reservation. Additionally, the Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs), constituting 36% of the population, receive 18% reservation. The new proposal suggests merging these categories to achieve a cumulative reservation limit of 43%.
Economic Basis Reservation: A new facet introduced in the reservation policy is a 10% reservation based on economic criteria.
With these changes, Bihar will now have 75% of seats reserved, while the remaining 25% will be allocated to the general category. This historic shift in reservation policies is poised to redefine opportunities for various communities and reshape the socio-political landscape in the state.