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Caste-based head count  begins in Bihar; Tejashwi terms it ‘historic step’

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Patna: Terming the caste-based head count that began in Bihar on Saturday as a “historic step”, Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav said the exercise will provide scientific data for carrying out welfare schemes for weaker sections of the society.

Noting that all the parties of the ruling ‘Mahagathbandhan’ were in favour of the exercise, the RJD leader claimed that the BJP was “critical” about the survey.

“The enumeration exercise began in Bihar from today. It is a historic step taken by the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ government in the state. Once the exercise is completed, it will provide scientific data to the state government for carrying out developmental work for people, including those who are deprived,” Yadav said, while speaking to media persons here.

He also said, “The BJP is an anti-poor party which always opposed this exercise and has always been critical about the caste-based head count.”

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had on Friday said that the caste-based enumeration exercise could be beneficial for all.

The caste-based head count process has been a major issue in Bihar, as Kumar’s JD(U) and all constituents of the ruling ‘Mahagathbandhan’ were demanding that the exercise be undertaken at the earliest.

The state government embarked on the exercise in the wake of the Centre expressing its inability to undertake a caste-based enumeration other than SCs and STs.

The exercise will be conducted in two phases across Bihar, an official said.

“All households will be covered in the first phase, which will continue till January 21. In the second one which will start in March, data on people, belonging to all castes, sub-castes and religions, will be collected.

“Enumerators will gather information about the financial status of all people,” Patna District Magistrate Chandrashekhar Singh told PTI.

Earlier in the day, he inspected the ongoing exercise being conducted by the state government employees in the Bank road area in Patna.

“The exercise is being conducted in all 12,696 blocks in Patna district,” he said.

The caste-based survey will be completed by May in 2023, and the state government will spend Rs 500 crore from its contingency fund for the exercise.

The general administration department is the nodal authority for the survey.

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