Bihar Caste Survey: Analysing Share of Different Jatis in 4 Types of Employment

webnexttech | Bihar Caste Survey: Analysing Share of Different Jatis in 4 Types of Employment

This article is part two of a series of five articles on Bihar’s recently released caste survey report (read part one here).The aim is to decode and simplify the raw data, which does not speak for itself.
Thus, the article draws larger patterns so that the status of different caste groups can be comprehensively understood and presented.
In this article, we focus on the share of different jatis in the four types of work activities classified by the Bihar government.
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4 Key AspectsThe first concerns private jobs in the unorganised sector which means that all unincorporated private enterprises are owned by individuals and households who have less than ten workers, like filtered water suppliers, newspaper vendors, barber shops, small hotels and restaurants, etc.
The second is the category of self-employment.
It means those who work for their own economic activities, like, general stores, vegetable stores, cosmetic shops, garment shops, etc.The third consists of Krishak, Kashtkar, and Khetihar.
These three are clubbed under one work activity in the report.
Krishak is a farmer who can have an acre of land or a hundred acres of land.
Kashtkar are those who do not own the land but perform farming on someone’s land like sharecroppers (Bataidar).
Khetihar is a landless labourer.However, we can say that this category is those who are engaged in agricultural activities.
Engagement in agricultural activities means some relationship or holdings over lands.
Work activities like Mistree, Majdoor, and anyy are clubbed into one category by the Bihar government.
Mistree is a construction worker, bike repairs, electrician, etc.
Majdoor is a construction worker.
We, for the sake of convenience, term this, the fourth category, as non-agricultural work activities.
However, the meanings of these terms are not available in the report.
We tried to get the closest possible meaning through the enumerator on the ground and other Bihar government officers.
Chart one shows us the share of different categories in four types of work activities.
The general category has the highest share of jobs in the unorganised sector, the EBCs (Economically Backward Class) stand second, while the OBCs (Other Backward Classes) bag 29.09 per cent of the total, and the SC (Scheduled Caste) category also shares 11.93 per cent.
Jobs in the unorganised sector can be highly paid at the top level and very low-paid work.
However, the report does not tell us about which types of jobs are bagged by which caste.The people from the EBC category top the table in self-employment with 42.21 per cent.
OBCs stand second with 29.65 per cent, the SC category at third with 19.63 per cent, and 14.15 per cent of self-employment activities are managed by the people from the general category.
The highest share of EBC in self-employment activities indicates us about the castes who are still stuck in their traditional jobs.1,00,63,727 people are working in agricultural activities.
OBCs constitutes the highest workforce in this category (35.10 per cent), EBCs stand second (28.63 per cent), SCs at third (19.63 per cent), and the general population stands at the fourth position with 14.15 per cent of total agricultural activities.
What the report hides from us is that it does not tell how many people are Krishak, how many are Kashtkar, and how many are working as Khetihar Majdoor.While seeing the data, it looks like SCs are engaged more than upper castes in agricultural activities but the question is – in what forms – as land owners, zamindars, share-croppers, or landless labourers?
Ironically, the report does not have an answer.
However, what we know from the data collection sheet which was used by the enumerator is that the government collected the data on land holdings.EBCs have the highest workforce in non-agricultural activities.
40.08 per cent of total non-agricultural workforces like Mistree and Majdoor are EBC population.
SCs constitute 25.12 per cent of the total workforce and 22.29 per cent of the total workforce is OBC.
The general category also shares 10.52 per cent of the total non-agricultural workers in Bihar.
OBCs, EBCs, SCs, and STs (Scheduled Tribes) collectively constitute 89.35 per cent of the total non-agricultural workforce in Bihar.
It is interesting to note that the 85 per cent population of OBCs, EBCs, SCs, and STs is not proportionally represented in both government and private jobs in the organised sector.
Only where they are duly represented is in the non-agricultural work activities.
PM Modi’s Retorts to Bihar Caste Survey Show It Has Unsettled the RegimeChart two presents us the list of the top ten jatis who are working as private workers in the unorganised sector.
27,97,039 (2.14 per cent) people of Bihar are employed in the unorganised sector.
Out of them, a total of 13.64 per cent of jobs are bagged by the Yadav community which also has 14.2666 per cent of the population in Bihar.
Brahmin, Rajput, and Bhumihar are in second, third, and fourth position respectively.
These three communities together share 23.46 per cent of the total jobs which has 9.9773 per cent of the population in Bihar.
Two castes each of SCs and EBCs also are in the top ten jatis who share the highest number of jobs in the unorganised sectors.
The lacunae of the report is that we again do not know which types of jobs are shared by which jatis.
Chart three shows us the top ten jatis of Bihar who are engaged in self-employment activities.
39,91,312 (2.05 per cent) people are engaged in self-employment activities.
Out of them, Baniyas top the share in this category with 9.34 per cent.
Yadavs stand in second position.
Teli, Momin, Nai, and Kanu are the four EBC castes who are on the list of top ten jatis.
The report verifies the prevalence of traditional jobs among the backward castes.The data shows us the trend that the EBCs have a higher share in self-employment activities.Sonar, Darzi, Badhai, Lohar, Halwai, Chaurasiya, Mali, Churihar, Kasai, and Laheri are all the castes of EBC who have at least five percent of their population employed in self-employed activities.
The absence of SCs in the self-employment activities in the list of top ten jatis shows us the lack of even minimum capital that is needed to start any self-jobs.
Chart four is the representation of the top ten jatis who are participating in agricultural production.
A total of 7.70 per cent of the population of Bihar are employed in agricultural activities.
Out of the total workforce of agricultural production, 21.50 per cent are from the Yadav community.
Kushwaha is in second position with a share of 6.04 per cent of the total workforce.
Musahar, Dusadh, and Ravidas from SCs are collectively 14.49 per cent of the total workforce in agricultural activities.
4.23 per cent and 4.01 per cent of the total workforce in agriculture activities are Bhumihar and Rajput respectively.
The problem with the data is that it clubbed Krishak, Kashtkar, and Khetihar in one category.
All these three work activities are entirely different.
However, several other reports (Flaming Field of Bihar) along with popular perception propagate that the ownership over land belongs to upper castes and a few OBCs, while EBCs and Dalits are mainly agricultural labourers.
The report blurred this major distinction.
Bihar Caste Census’ Impact Goes Beyond Polls: It Can End the ‘Modi Consensus’Chart five is the graphical depiction of the major jatis who constitute the non-agricultural labourers in Bihar.
2,18,65,634 (16.73 per cent) people are working in non-agricultural activities like Mistree, Majdoor, and Anyy.
Out of 10 castes, three castes are from the SC category.
Three are OBC, three are EBC and one caste (Sheikh) is from upper caste Muslim.
Only these ten castes constitute almost half (48.73 per cent) of the non-agricultural workforce in Bihar.
This shows us the deprivation of these caste groups.
Table six shows us that the top 10 jatis who are more than 1/5th population are engaged as non-agricultural labourers in Bihar.
We only include those castes in this table for our analysis whose population is more than 5 lakhs.
Out of 10 castes, five castes of SCs are those whom more than 20 per cent or one-fifth of their population are the working class.
Four castes of EBCs fall into this category.
Out of four EBC castes, 3 are EBC Muslims.
One OBC Muslim (Surjapuri Muslim) also has 21.22 per cent of their population engaged as non-agricultural labourers.Apart from this, Momin (20.22 per cent), Dusadh (20.26 per cent), and Choupal (20.26 per cent) also have their 1/5th population working as Mistree/Majdoor/Anyy.
These castes also have a population in Bihar of more than 5 lakhs.However, not a single caste of the SCs category constituting more than 15 percent of the population engaged in any form of agricultural activities.
86 jatis out of 112 EBC castes whose – 15 per cent or more – are employed in the Mistri/Mazdoor/Anyy category, while only five castes of EBCs are who have more than 15 per cent population employed in agricultural activities.Apart from not knowing about which jatis are employed in what forms, the data also signals us the inverse relationship between the population of agricultural activities and non-agricultural activities.
EBCs and SCs are major castes who constitute the non-agricultural labourers while they have a lower share in agricultural production activities.
The Bihar caste survey report gained widespread appreciation.
However, the report lacks on several fronts.
First, the data shows that 67.54 per cent of the population are either housewives or students, etc.
However, there is no rationale for keeping both activities in one category.
Also, a large number of women do household work and also work outside as agricultural labourers, vegetable sellers, general shops, etc.
The report hides the share of women in economic activities.
Second, the clubbing of Krishak, Kashtkar, and Khetihar in one category forces us to analyse the share of different jatis of their holdings on land.
Bihar has a very rich history of the struggle for land reforms.
Since the rise of the Naxalbari movement, marginalised communities fought a long-standing battle for their dignified share of the land.
That’s why, it is very obvious to ask why the recently released Bihar caste survey report has hidden the data on land holdings.
[Kishan Kumar ([email protected]) is a research associate at Ashoka University, Haryana.
Nitish Kumar ([email protected]) is a doctoral candidate at the Centre for Political Studies, JNU.
This is an opinion piece.
The views expressed above are the author’s own.
The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.]Bihar’s Caste Survey: Moving Towards a New Age of Mandal Politics(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience.
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