'Hand to mouth existence': 63% of families live on less than Rs 10000 per month in Bihar

Bihar's caste-economic survey unveils stark poverty, education challenges, and community-specific trends.
Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | AP)
Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | AP)

PATNA: Bihar is in crying need of attention, another survey has reiterated.

A caste-economic survey report released by the state government has revealed that the monthly income of 34.13 per cent of Bihar's families stood at Rs 6,000. Going by the World Bank's median poverty line last updated in September 2022, drawn as being under US $2.15 (Rs 176) per person per day, all these families will be classified as extremely poor. Copies of the report were made available to MLAs in the pre-lunch session of the state assembly's winter session on Tuesday.

As per the report, a staggering 94.12 lakh families in Bihar were found to be living in poverty.  

The picture did not get any better if you moved to the immediate next level. The 29.61 per cent of families totalling over 81.91 lakh households who followed earned only between Rs 6,000 and 10,000 per month. This cumulative data signifies that the entire count of Bihar's households earning incomes not exceeding Rs 10,000 now surpasses 63 per cent.

Only 18.06 per cent of families in Bihar reported a monthly income ranging from over Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000, while 9.83 per cent of families lived on incomes exceeding Rs 20,000 and up to Rs 50,000.

Strikingly, five million Biharis were reported as living outside the state after having migrated in search of better jobs and education.

The report reveals that in the surveyed population, over 42 per cent of families belonging to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) are living in poverty, along with more than 33 per cent of families from Backward and Extremely Backward Classes.

Additionally, less than six per cent of SCs in the study have completed their education up to class 11 and 12, with a slight increase to nine per cent overall statewide.

The survey findings indicate that a mere seven per cent of Bihar's population are graduates, while 9.19 per cent of students are pursuing their education at the 11th and 12th-grade levels. When it comes to students enrolled in classes 1-5, there were 22.67 per cent of students. 

According to the survey report, 25.09 per cent of families in the General Category are poor, while 33.16 per cent of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and 33.58 per cent of Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs) also face poverty.

Among Muslims, a significant portion experience poverty, with 25.84 per cent of sheikhs, 22.2 per cent of pathans (Khan), and 17.61 per cent of sayyids face economic hardship, as per the latest data.

This comes after the Bihar government released the caste survey data on October 2, revealing that over 60 per cent of Bihar's population belongs to Backward, or Extremely Backward Classes and more than 20 per cent come from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, however, claimed that the population of Muslims and Yadavs has been deliberately inflated under pressure from Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.

Shah levelled the allegations against the Grand Alliance government led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at a public meeting held at Patahi airport in Muzaffarpur district on November 5, which invoked sharp reactions from the deputy chief minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav.

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