Patna, Feb 13 (PTI) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday stressed the need for caste-based census in 2021 so that the present cap of 50 per cent on reservations is removed and quotas for reserved categories of SCs, STs and OBCs are increased on the basis of the increase in their population.

The only caste-based census in the country had been conducted way back in 1931, he said replying to a discussion on the motion of thanks for the governors address to the joint session of the state legislature.

“In 1990, the then president Giani Zail Singh had suggested to me that the census should be on the basis of caste and following talks with party leaders Madhu Limay and Madhu Dandavate (social leaders)I had taken up the issue with the (then) government. But it could not materialize then as the census was already underway,” he said.

The census in 2011 was not caste-based, though a socio-economic survey was conducted along with it. “But the data collected therein was not adequate for assessing increase in population of each reserved category,” Kumar said.

Stating that he had no differences with the Opposition over their demand for a caste-based census and increase in the quota, the chief minister suggested The House should pass a unanimous resolution over the issue which would be forwarded to the Centre.

Members from all sections welcomed the suggestion by thumping the desks.

Kumar said if the 13-point roster is applied to appointments in universities it would adversely hit candidates from the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes.

He said that the 10 per cent reservation provided recently for the poor among the unreserved category was a different issue which did not affect the SCs STs and OBCs.

This reservation for the unreserved category has been provided by amending the Constitution to enable reservation on an economic basis and was applicable to people of all religions, he said.

Referring to the Oppositions charge that there was a spurt in crimes under his rule in recent times, Kumar said offences like murder, dacoity, kidnapping and loot had significantly come down during 2014-18 compared with 2001-05 despite increase in population.

The figure for cognizable offences in the state during 2014-18 was 157.4 per lakh of population as against the national average of 233.6, he said.

When some members interrupted him by raising the issue of mob lynching in recent times, Kumar said Where is mob lynching ? The story of mob lynching has emanated from Uttar Pradesh in cases of communal clash. But incidents members are citing here concern criminals being beaten to death by a group of people”.

Such crimes have always taken place in the society but are not exactly instances of mob lynching, he said adding the administration is not lax about the illegal acts.

“Awareness too needs to be created so that people do not take law into their own hands … Crime-free society is an ideal for which we must keep on striving”, he remarked.

Opposition MLAs belonging to the RJD, Congress and the CPI(ML) staged a walkout expressing dissatisfaction with the chief ministers claims on law and order situation.

The house passed the motion of thanks after the chief minister concluded his reply.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.