Report Code: PI150001

No. of Pages: 270 pages

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Published Date: 12/Sep/2017


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1. Introduction

2. Review of literatures

3. Methodology

4. Caste and Protective Discrimination

5. Historical Background of  Discrimination and Issues of Legitimacy

6. Upper Caste Domination And Mobilization Of Backward Castes In Bihar

7.Constitutional Provisions And Commissions On Affirmative Action

8.Analysis And Inter Pretation Of Data : Protective Discrimination In Social And Educational Mobility  Of Backward Classes

9. Summary and Conclusion

10. References

Castes are the building blocks of the Indian social structure. Indian society is divided in a hierarchical order for centuries. This has resulted in a close lineage between the caste ranking of a person and his social, educational and economic status. This manner of stratification of society gave the higher castes deep rooted vested interest in the perpetuation of the system.

Caste is an important factor in the identification of backward classes. Backwardness must be social and educational and not either social or educational. Caste is also a class of citizens and if the caste as a whole is socially and educationally backward, reservation can be made in favour of such a caste on the ground that it is a socially and educationally backward class of citizens within the meaning of Article 15 (4).

The 93rd constitution Amendment Act brought amendment in Article 15 of the constitution to provide reservation for OBCs in all educational institutions including private, whether aided or unaided, excepting minority educational institutions.

Special concessions like reservation of jobs in government employment and seats in educational institutions; financial assistance; subsidized educational facilities etc, are being given by several state governments to SCs, STs and OBCs. In 1980, much before the V. P. Singh government’s Mandal move, the Tamil Nadu government had implemented 69 percent reservation for Backward Classes in educational institutions and jobs.

Although reservations to SCs & STs in educational institutions were provided in 1952 but reservation to other Backward Classes in educational institutions was provided in 1980 by the Govt. of Bihar. In Bihar other Backward Classes (OBCs) were divided in to two groups Backward Class-I (BC-I) also known as Most Backward Class (MBC) or extremely Backward Class (EBC) and Backward Class-II (BC-II) on the basis of inherent perceptible disparities between the two. Like many other states, reservation policies were also opposed by the upper castes of Bihar.

Indicators of Social Mobility

The following indicators have been used for this study:

(i)      Enrollment in higher education

(ii)     Reservation in jobs of university teachers

(iii)    Reservation in Panchayati Raj Institutions

Although several studies have been conducted on the caste system and its interface with politics and social changes, no study has examined the relationship of reservation with social and educational mobility in Bihar which is still supposed to be a caste ridden state. No data based study of any kind is available on the educational mobility of backward classes of Bihar. Hence the present study is of utmost significance as it has tried to present academic mobility of backward castes of Bihar using some data base. The protective discrimination has been understood holistically and in a dynamic way along with mobility of backward castes of Bihar.

The present study has following objectives:

(i)      To analyze social stratification and inter-caste disparities affecting mobility of the backward castes.

(ii)     To explore the basis of protective discrimination as affirmative action for creating adequate educational and job opportunities for backward castes on the basis of reports of various commissions and policies on reservations.

(iii)    To find out impact of protective discrimination on educational and social mobility in Bihar.

(iv)           To know the opinion of backward and upper caste students studying in the universities of Bihar on protective discrimination as a measure for social mobility.

Based on the above objectives following research questions were framed which were addressed during the study. These research questions also provided guidelines for the study.

(i)      What are current theoretical explanations of backward classes/castes ?

(ii)     What are the past and present issues related to backward class reservation or affirmative action?

(iii)    What are the constitutional provisions regarding backward class reservations?

(iv)    What are the recommendations of various commissions on backward class reservations?

(v)     What are the basis of protective discrimination (reservation) for creating educational and job opportunities for backward classes in the reports of various policies and commissions on reservations?

(vi)    What is the nature of backward class movement in Bihar?

(vii)   What is the impact of protective discrimination on educational and social mobility of backward classes in Bihar?

(viii)  What is the opinion of upper caste and lower caste university students of Bihar on protective discrimination as a measure for social mobility?


Research methodology

The study is a survey research. Survey involved both secondary and primary sources of data. The following sections deal with the nature of data used for the present study. An account of the sampling procedure required for collecting primary data from university students has also been discussed.

In order to address research questions related to theoretical explanation of backward classes/castes, past and present issues related to reservation, constitutional provisions regarding reservation, recommendations of various commissions on backward class reservation and basis of protective discrimination; various sociological and anthropological literatures including published papers, reports, articles from academicians, experts and policy makers were analyzed.

The secondary literature also included reports of various commissions on reservation and acts and provisions related to reservation of backward classes.

In order to know the impact of protective discrimination on social and educational mobility of backward classes in Bihar, analysis of secondary data sources such as Economic Survey Report 2008-09 (Govt. of Bihar), NSSO reports, Draft Report of Working Group on Higher Education Eleven Five year plan etc. was done. These data bases were used to estimate population distributions of various social groups in Bihar and educational and social indicator for assessing mobility of backward classes in Bihar. Census or any other survey does not collect information pertaining to backward classes especially BC-I and BC-II categories (OBC has been divided in to BC-I & BC-II categories in Bihar) of Bihar.

For examining academic mobility, data on admission of general and SC and ST students in 2008 was obtained from secondary sources. To examine social mobility, data on public representatives from backward classes and perceptible changes in local governance was taken in to consideration.

The primary data was also used for examining academic mobility, data on enrollment of OBC students [OBC divided in to backward class (BC-II) and most/Extremely backward Class (BC-I)] in 2008 was collected from universities of Bihar. Data on appointment of backward teachers in two last appointments (in 1996 and 2003) in Patna and other universities of Bihar was also collected for the purpose of examining social mobility.

The Primary data also comprised of qualitative data. It included opinions of students of two universities and one institute of technology of Bihar.

For this purpose a sample of 200 students were selected. The sample was purposive in nature 50 backward students were identified from Patna university. Another 50 backward and 50 upper caste students were selected from Bhagalpur University is the similar way.

In case of quantitative data mobility was examined by calculating proportion of backward class students in various courses of higher education in Bihar and proportion of backward class teachers appointed in the Patna University and other University of Bihar.

In Case of qualitative data, responses were unitized, classified and analyzed taking emerging patterns on the basis of regularities and irregularities in responses.


It has been tried to analyze secondary and primary data in order to examine the role of reservation in social and educational mobility of backward classes in Bihar. Following indicators were used for such examination:

(i)     Enrollment in higher education.

(ii)     Reservation in jobs of university teachers.

(iii)    Reservation in Panchayati Raj Institutions.

Mobility based on enrollment in higher education

Unlike central reservation policy based on Mandal Commission, the reservation policy in Bihar makes clear distinction between two groups within other backward classes. The Hindu population of reorganized Bihar is consisted of 13 percent Upper Castes, 15 percent Scheduled Castes, 0.89 percent Scheduled Tribes, 30 percent Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs), and 25 percent Backward classes (BC-II). Substantial proportions of the Muslim population have been identified as Extremely Backward Class and get the benefit of reservation extended for EBCs (Table 8.1)

In keeping with the State Govt. Policy of Affirmative Action for various marginalized and oppressed social groups of society in unorganized Bihar, reservation percentages in jobs and admission in universities and colleges fixed for SC, ST, EBC (BCI), BC (BCII) and women of backward classes were 14,10,14,10 and 2 respectively (Table 8.2). Regulation of reservation in admission in universities and colleges was changed in 2003 (The Bihar reservation Act-2003). The percentages of reservation to the above groups were re-fixed as 16,01,18,12 and 03 respectively (Table 8.3)

According to Economic Survey 2008-09 of Govt. of Bihar, there were 13 universities, 11 research institutions, 504 general colleges, 15 teacher training colleges, 23 medical colleges and 7 engineering/technical colleges in Bihar (Table 8.4)

According to an estimate total Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education of Bihar is 6.16 percent out of which male percentage is 8.79 and female percentage is 3.4 as for as total graduates are concerned total GER is 4.91% out of which male and female percentage is 6.92 and 2.84 respectively (Table 8.5)

Total GER of higher education of Bihar is lower than most of the states in India only few smaller sates like Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Tripura and Lakshadweep have lower GER than Bihar. As far as GER of total graduates is concern only Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura, and Lakshadweep have lower GER.

As far as course wise enrollment in higher education in Bihar concerned it was highest in Arts (227729). The enrollment in Science courses was nearly half of the courses in Arts(114457). The enrollment in Commerce courses was little lower than Science courses(107787). Enrollment in Professional courses like engineering (6376), medicine (9753) and education (Teacher Training) (8393) was comparatively very lower than the courses in Arts, Science and Commerce (Table8.6)

In the following sections the investigator has tried to present course wise enrollment of SC, ST, BC-I and BC-II students in higher education of Bihar. The percentage of course wise enrollment of students of these social groups in relation to over all enrollments has also been presented. The data will help in understanding the educational mobility of students of various social groups as a result of affirmative action taken by the Govt. of Bihar in terms of providing reservation in admission in universities and colleges.

Enrollment of SC students was highest in Arts. Their enrollment in Commerce and Science courses was nearly equal and quite lower than the enrollment in Arts. Enrollment in education (Teacher Training) was highest among other professional courses and enrollment in medicine was higher than engineering (Table 8.7)

As for as their enrollment percentage of overall enrollment of students in various courses of higher education in Bihar was concerned, it was between 10 and 15 percent. Their percentages in Commerce, Science, Medicine and Teacher Training courses are 13.7, 12.9, 12.7, 12.8 and 14.9 respectively (Table 8.7). The percentage of reservation given to them in admission to various universities and colleges is 16 from 2003. Before that it was 14 percent. By 2008 they have made significant progress in securing their place in the institutions of higher education in Bihar. Although, their enrollment in Arts courses like Social Sciences, Languages and Humanities is the highest but in terms of percentage of overall enrollment it is lowest at 9.8 percent. It may be concluded that either they are more inclined to study professional courses, Commerce or Science (including Computer Science and Application) due to better job of opportunities or reservation was not fully implemented in Arts courses which are taught in most of the colleges spread across rural and urban areas of Bihar.

The trend of course wise enrollment of Backward Class-I (BC-I) in higher education in the state was similar to SC enrollment discussed above. The enrollment in Arts courses was highest but it was only 11 percent of the overall enrollment of student in Arts courses in universities and colleges of Bihar.

Enrollment in Commerce and Science courses (including Computer and Computer Science courses) did not differ much. The enrollment in Commerce courses was higher by about 2000. The BC-I enrollment in Commerce and Science courses is 14.2 and 15.1 percent of overall enrollment in these courses respectively. The enrollment in professional courses namely engineering, medicine and teacher training was relatively much lower but their percentage of overall enrollment in these courses was 14, 13.8 and 15 respectively (Table8.8). Among various social groups enjoying reservation facility in admission in Bihar, BC-I gets 18 percent reservation from 2003, Which is highest for any social group. Before 2003 reservation percentage for BC-I was 14 percent. BC-I is a formation of over hundred castes and constitute 30 percent of the state population. From the above analysis it can be inferred that BC-I has achieved significant mobility in terms of their access in higher education in Bihar.

Like other social group discussed above enrollment of BC-II students was highest in Arts courses. It was 14.4 percent of the overall enrollment in these courses. The enrollment in Science (including computer and computer Science courses) was nearly half of enrollment in Arts courses but their percentage of overall enrollment of students Science courses was also 14.4 equal to Arts courses. Enrollment in Commerce courses is lower than Arts Courses but higher than Science courses. Their percentage of overall enrollment in Commerce was 20.8. Enrollment in Professional courses was much lower as incase of all other social groups discussed earlier, perhaps due to lower number seats available in Professional courses. The percentage of enrollment of BC-II students in engineering, medicine and education (Teacher Training) of overall enrollment of students in these courses in Bihar was 23.1, 23.1 and 21 respectively (Table8.9). The percentage of BC-II students was higher in all the courses than the percentage of reservation (12 percent after 2003 and 10 percent before 2003) fixed for them. Like other social groups their percentage overall enrollment in Commerce, Engineering, Medicine and Education (Teacher Training) was higher than Arts and Science courses. Interestingly enrollment percentage (in Science courses) of overall enrollment (in Science courses) in Bihar was lower than BC-I students, perhaps due to shift in interest of BC-II students towards Commerce where such percentage was quite higher in comparison to other social groups. Of course the shift might also have taken place in professional courses where such percentage was again higher but trend in professional courses- Medicine, Engineering and Education (Teacher Training) was similar to other social groups.

From the above analysis it can be inferred that students belonging to BC-II social group have shown highest mobility in relation to other social groups discussed above i.e., SC & BC-I. Their percentages of overall enrollment in Commerce and Professional courses reached some where near their percentage of population in the state.

Enrollment of ST students in Science courses (including Computer Science and Computer Application) was nearly one thousand, next higher than the Arts courses but nearly half of the Arts courses. Their percentage of overall enrollment in Science courses in Bihar was 0.87, nearly equal to Arts courses. Their enrollment in Engineering, Medicine and Education (Teacher Training) was very low; 58, 59 and 84 respectively. Their percentage of overall enrollment in these courses was 0.90, 0.91 and 0.94 respectively. Except Commerce in which percentage of ST students in relation to overall enrollment in Commerce was only 0.07 but in Post Graduate courses of Commerce this percentage is one (Table 8.10).

In reorganized Bihar the reservation extended to ST students is one percentage. Their access in most of the courses of higher education of Bihar is nearly equal to the percentage of reservation extended to ST students. Their very low access in undergraduate courses of Commerce may be due to less inclination towards Commerce. As far as affirmative action in terms of reservation is concerned their mobility is almost equal to Scheduled Caste and Extremely Backward Classes.

 Mobility in Jobs:

The discussion on mobility of various social groups in jobs is based on the data on appointment of teachers alone in universities of Bihar in 1996 and 2003. The scheme of reservation adopted for both appointments was the some as followed before reorganized Bihar.

The data (Table 8.11)based on the appointment of teachers made in the Patna University in 1996 reveals that 55.4 percent teachers were appointed from those castes who did not avail reservation facility. 44.6 percent teachers were appointed from various social groups who were entitled to get reservation. But this percentage also included those teachers who were selected in general merit list /general category.

Reservation scheme, under which the 1996 appointment was made, provided 10 percent reservation to each of the social groups BC-II and ST; 14 percent reservation to each of the social groups BC-I and SC; and 2 percent reservation to Backward Class Women (BCW) included women from SC, ST, BC-I and BC-II.

Although only 10 percent reservation was available to BC-II but nearly 23 percent teachers of this social group got appointment. It appears that nearly 13 percent teachers were selected in general merit category. In case of BC-II percentage of teachers appointed was nearly equal to the percentage of reservation extended to them. Although 14 percent reservation was available to SC but only 5.3 percent teachers were appointed from this social group, nearly half of the reservation percentage extended to them. Only 1.8 percent ST teachers were appointed against 10 percent reservation available to them. Separate data about appointment under BCW category could not be obtained.

From the above analysis it can be inferred that BC-II which includes middle castes like Yadav, Keori, Kurmi and Bania has achieved considerable mobility in university jobs. BC-I is a social group of over hundred Hindu Castes and few Muslim Castes. Population of most of these castes belonging to BC-I is less than half percent. Most of the castes in BC-I is still very backward in comparison to few castes like Kurmi (Mahto) Dhanuk, Pal, Perdhan etc (all Hindus) and Momin, Rayeen and Shershahbadi (Muslim) BC-I as a social group has attended some mobility recently.

Mobility among SCs is relatively lower. In spite of 14 percent seats reserved for them nearly one third (5.3%) of it could be selected for appointment as teachers in Patna University. Mobility among STs is still lower. Nearly 2 percent teachers were selected for appointment. This was only one fifth of the reservation percentage extended to them.

The data (Table 8.12)based on the appointment of teachers made in the Patna University in 2003 reveals that Percentage of teachers appointed under various social groups BC-II, BC-I, SC, ST and BCW included only those individuals who were selected under reserve category unlike the table 8.11 based on appointment made in 1996 (where percentage for teachers shown under BC-II, BC-I, SC and ST categories included all the individual selected either under reserve categories or general merit list) for the simple reason that individuals appointed in the reserve categories were not identified in the common appointment notification of 2003.

Out of 116 teachers appointed, percentages of BC-II, BC-I and SC were 15.5, 25 and 12.1 respectively. Percentage of ST and BCW each (social group) was 1.7. The overall percentage of teachers selected from various social groups under reserved categories was 56.1. The percentage of reservation exceeded well above 50 percent due to the reason that backlog vacancy of different social groups were made available for 2003 appointment.

Percentage of teachers under BC-I category was 25 percent which was 11 percent more than the percent of reservation fixed for this category at that time. In case of SC teachers the percentage was about 12 which were still 2 percent below the percentage of reservation fixed for them. In 1996 appointment percentage of SC teachers was about 5 percent. The increase in the percentage of appointment of SC teachers in 2003 may be due to availability of more seats due to backlog vacancy and increase in number of applicants due to higher access in universities. The percentage of ST teachers appointed in 2003 was 1.7 which was nearly equal to 1996 appointment. In spite of backlog vacancy no increase in their percentage was noticed.

The percentage of BC-II teachers was 15.5 which is 5.5 percent above the percentage of reservation fixed for them. This may be due to availability of backlog vacancy. It was obvious from 1996 appointment that nearly 13 percent BC-II teachers were selected in general merit list. It is also possible that some BC-II teachers might have been selected under general merit list.

From the above analysis it can be inferred that BC-I social group has attained reasonable extent of capacity to achieve the minimum standard required for selection as university teacher. Affirmative Action in terms of reservation also provided mobility among BC-I social group in effective terms. BC-II social group has attended considerable mobility without any doubt. They have also started making space in general merit list. But mobility is still very low among SCs and STs as far as job mobility as University teachers is concerned.

Nearly 1400 teachers in 1996 and nearly 700 teachers in 2003 were selected for appointment in various Universities of Bihar by then existing Bihar State University (constituent colleges) Service Commission (BSUSC). Appointment made in 1996 was the only appointment on large scale after implementation of reservation for other backward classes (BC-II and BC-I) in Bihar. Before 1996, percentage of University teachers from BC-II social category was miniscule. Percentage of University teachers from BC-I, SC & ST social groups were almost nil.

During 1980s nearly 40 colleges were established by private management in Bihar. They were taken over by the Bihar government and made constituent units of various universities. Around 4000 teachers are working in these colleges. The percentage of teachers from BC-I, SC and ST social groups is negligible in these colleges. The percentage of teachers from BCII social group is less than 4 percent in these colleges. It appears that various social groups started achieving mobility in jobs of teachers in higher education during 1990s.

 Mobility in Local Governance     

Enactment of new Bihar Panchayati Raj Act brought social mobility among disadvantaged social groups in terms of political empowerment at local level through affirmative action. According to one statistics in Panchayati Raj election 2006; 253260 PRI representatives were elected out of which 130031 were women. Nearly half of them were women from SCs, STs and BC-I

Before 2006 election the representation of SCs, STs and Extremely Backward Classes (BC-I) was not more than five percent in Panchayati Raj Institutions of Bihar. Women from SCs, STs and BC-I hardly contested elections. As far as mobility of backward class as a whole is concerned nearly 78 percent PRI representatives belonged to this class.

The impact of social mobility of backward classes in local self governance was seen in Panchayat Agricultural Co-operative Society (PACS) where 5000 candidates from SCs, STs and BC-I filed nomination forms and over 2250 of them won at various posts in this election conducted in 2009

From 1980s onwards middle castes like Koeris, Kurmis, Yadavas and Banias all Belonging to BC-II dominated state politics. But Extremely Backward Classes (BC-I) had little role in Bihar politics where as they formed 30 percent of the state population. From 1961 to 1990 they could not elect more then 6 MLAs in spite of backward class polarization in electoral polities of Bihar. From 1995 onwards Extremely Backward Classes consisting over hundred castes started reorganizing and making assertion in electoral politics of Bihar under the leadership of local educated youth. This led to the increased number of BC-I contestants in successive election held in 1995, 2000, 2005 (February) and 2005 (November). In all these elections number of BC-I MLAs substantially increased. In the last election 17 MLAs were elected. Due to increased consolidation out of 17 elected MLAs, were inducted in Council of Ministers.

After getting reservation in local self government in 2006, the consolidation and assertion of BC-I has further increased in politics of Bihar. In the coming 2010 state election the representation of BC-I MLAs may further increase.

From the above discussion and interpretation, it may be said that reservation appears to be  an effective instrument of bringing social mobility among backward classes of Bihar. As explained above in the introductory chapter social mobility covers all the aspects like educational, economic and political. The database used to look in to the mobility of backward classes of Bihar in enrollment in higher education, in university jobs, and in local governance has produced reasonable evidence of social mobility through reservation.

Analysis of responses on the questionnaire revealed that 92 percent general category students were opposed to reservation in admission at higher education level.

The correct information about percentage of reservation given to various categories was available with 45 percent reserved category of students. Over 90 percent students from both general and reserved category students could name four castes of SC and BC-II categories. But only 55 percent reserved category students and 58 percent general category students could identify four BC-I castes. On the other hand general students who opposed reservation felt that reservation would lower down quality of higher education. Out of 14 percent reserved category students who opposed reservation, 57 percent (8 out of 14) of them provided explanation similar to general category students. All 8 percent general students who supported reservation provided explanation for need of reservation similar to reserved category students. Similarly almost all reserved category students felt that reservation was being implemented properly in the state. Selection of reserved category students through reservation and open merit category both adversely affected the chances of general category students in admission and jobs Ten percent general students found that reservation had definitely helped in improving social, educational and economic position of backward classes.