Cong questions PM Modi over his stance on Bihar Mahagathbandhan govt's caste survey

11:04 AM Apr 04, 2024 | PTI |

The Congress on Thursday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi what he thinks of the caste census conducted by his ”old new ally” Nitish Kumar in Bihar, saying he should break his ”silence” on the issue.


Ahead of the prime minister’s rally in Bihar’s Jamui, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh posed questions for the prime minister ”The Prime Minister is in Jamui, Bihar today. It is unlikely to ever figure in his propaganda-laden speeches, but these are the issues that the people of Bihar want to hear from him about: Bihar was the first state to abolish the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act in 2006. APMCs ensure farmers get MSP for their produce. Removing them has spelled disaster for farmers in Bihar, 97% of whom have small or marginal landholdings.” Despite the failure of this policy decision, the Modi government first attempted to scrap APMCs nationwide through the ”three black farm laws”, and now continues to deny farmers guaranteed MSPs, he said.

Can the prime minister express what benefits farmers in Bihar have seen from the abolition of its APMCs, and why he was trying to recreate this model nationally, he asked.

”Bihar has the dubious distinction of having India’s highest rates of unemployment and out-migration. A full 32% of Bihar’s youth are not in education, employment, or training. More than 50% of Bihari households have family members migrating out of the state for work,” Ramesh claimed.

The Congress has committed to filling 30 lakh government vacancies under its ‘Bharti Bharosa Guarantee’, along with a right to apprenticeships, he pointed out.


What is the BJP’s vision to help rescue Bihar’s youth from hopelessness and unemployment, Ramesh asked.

In a state that faces such high levels of youth unemployment and rural distress, the MGNREGA is a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of families, he noted.

”Yet, this crucial scheme falters whenever the BJP is in power in Bihar.The approved labour budget for 2023-24 was 225 million person days, 25 million person days less than the year before, and the average days of employment provided per household fell from 47.16 to 43.85. Across Bihar, only 0.4% of the 5.35 million families who demanded work were able to avail of the 100 days of employment guaranteed by the scheme,” he said. Last December, almost 800 people in Bihar’s Vaishali district, mostly women, participated in a strike to protest alleged fraud within the scheme in Bihar, Ramesh said.

”The Modi Sarkar is legally bound to guarantee 100 days of work and timely payment to MGNREGA beneficiaries. Are these states of affairs an indication of what ‘Modi ki Guarantee’ really looks like?” he said.

When Nitish Kumar’s government, on the insistence of the Congress and RJD, released Bihar’s caste census in October last year, PM Modi accused him of ”dividing the country in the name of caste”, he said.

”Having since joined hands with him, what does the PM think of the caste census conducted by his old new ally?” Ramesh said and asked Prime Minister Modi to break his ”silence” on the issue. The Nitish Kumar-led ‘Mahagathbandhan’ government released a caste survey last year.


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