Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi has approved a proposal to include the Paswan caste in the Mahadalit category, an official said Sunday.
Now, there is no Dalit category in Bihar.
The decision was taken Saturday at a meeting of the state cabinet here presided over by Manjhi.
"Now all Dalits are Mahadalits in the state," Bihar Mahadalit Commission official Uday Kumar said.
He said that as the Paswans are included in the Mahadalit category, they can avail welfare schemes meant for Mahadalits.
According to the 2011 Census, Dalits constitute nearly 16 percent of Bihar's 104 million population.
The census has identified 21 of the 22 Dalit sub-castes as Mahadalits. They include Musahar, Bhuiyan, Dom, Chamar, Dhobi and Nat. Paswan caste was left out of the Mahadalit category.
Activist Satya Narain Madan said: "Mahadalits are the poorest of the poor, majority of them have yet to taste the fruit of development."
The Paswan caste had been left out from the Mahadalit category during former chief minister Nitish Kumar's time when he had constituted a Mahadalit commission and announced special welfare programmes for them.
Manjhi is a Mahadalit and belongs to the Musahar community.