No decision at GoM on caste census
AP In this April 1, 2010 photo, a census worker fills in information
about a family as she conducts the national census at Ramsingh Chapori
village, east of Guwahati. A Group of Ministers will meet today to
consider the issue of inclusion of caste in census.
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The Group of Ministers (GoM) on caste census on Thursday failed to
reach any decision on the politically-sensitive issue and decided to
Sources said the GoM, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee,
discussed the issue threadbare during the 90-minute meeting but no
decision was taken.
Among the aspects deliberated upon were the pros and cons of including
caste in census exercise, they said.
The GoM is also understood to have discussed modalities for
undertaking such an exercise if a go-ahead were given.
Government had last month decided to set up the GoM on the
controversial issue after consensus eluded at two meetings of the
Parties like SP, RJD and JD(U) are strongly in favour of including
caste in census and disrupted proceedings of Parliament in the last
Budget Session by pressing their demands.
They are likely to raise the issue during Monsoon Session of
Parliament expected to commence in the third week of this month.
There are divisions even within Congress over the issue.
Caste census was last conducted in the country in 1931.
Besides Mr. Mukherjee, the GoM includes Home Minister P Chidambaram,
Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, Renewable
Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar,
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee and Textiles Minister Dayanidhi
Of them, Mr. Moily, who has been the most vocal supporter of including
caste in census, left soon after the meeting began.
Mr. Abdullah, Mr. Pawar and Ms. Banerjee also did not attend the meeting.
The issue of inclusion of caste in census has triggered a debate with
a section opposing it saying that it would divide the society on caste
lines while others advocate that it would ensure fairer distribution
of resources to the backward and downtrodden sections of the society.
Reports had it that Mr. Chidambaram had suggested that the caste-based
census should be included in the second phase of the ongoing census
exercise and clubbed with the biometric card data to ease the
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