Saturday, July 24, 2010

[ZESTCaste] Centre seeks views on caste census

Centre seeks views on caste census
21 Jul 2010, 0713 hrs IST,Devesh Kumar,ET Bureau

NEW DELHI:The Manmohan Singh government has kicked off the exercise of
eliciting the views of various political parties on castebased census.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who heads the GoM on the subject,
set the ball rolling here on Monday, when he met JD(U) president
Sharad Yadav, one of the most vociferous advocates of the demand.

The finance minister, however, is yet to write letters to leaders of
various political parties, seeking their views on the demand for
enumerating caste in the ongoing census exercise , as had been decided
at the July 1 meeting of the GoM. The ministerial panel had, while
finalising the course of action, decided to give four weeks'
time-frame to enable the political outfits to formulate their

In his meeting with Mr Yadav on Monday night, the finance minister, it
is learnt, sought his views on the proposal to have caste-based census
, and the roadmap to go about the exercise. The JD(U) leader, while
reiterating his party's support to the demand, outlined an 8-point

Mr Yadav, who's also the convenor of the NDA, said the task of
collecting information on caste could be initiated from the February
headcount, in which the three columns set aside for SCs, STs and
others would be replaced by just one column on the person's caste. ``
Ask the enumerators to enter the caste name of the person... People
know their caste and the enumerators, who are local, also know the
caste of the people. No one will lie about his/her caste because lying
does not give him/her any benefit. It rather reduces the number of
his/her caste,'' the JD(U) leader argued.

He favoured getting the ministry of social justice, both at the
central and state levels, in the frame to get the real picture. ``
Officials of the ministry are aware which caste in the state belongs
to SC and which one to OBC. They are also aware of the tribe and caste
names. On the basis of the population of individual castes and tribes,
these officials will find out the numbers of SCs, STs and the OBCs,''
the JD(U) leader maintained.

OBCs, according to Mr Yadav, had two lists in a state — central list
and the state list. `` The officials of the ministry of social justice
are quite capable of preparing the data of OBCs under the two lists.
In some states, there are more than one state list of OBCs. The
officials in the states concerned are equipped to find out the
individual caste populations in each list. The National Commission of
Backward Classes and the State Commissions are there to help the
officials,'' he said.

The social justice ministry, he concluded , may send the data on the
population of SCs, STs, OBCs and others to the Census Commissioner.


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