Published: August 31, 2010 14:29 IST | Updated: August 31, 2010 14:33
IST New Delhi, August 31, 2010

Decision taken on including caste in census: Pranab

What is in a name? Caste census: GoM to write to parties Caste in
census: Cabinet to decide on modalities GoM approval for caste-based
census Congress, BJP still divided over caste census Siddaramaiah for
caste enumeration
demographics population and census
politics national politics

The Finance MInister said the decision will now have to be endorsed by
the Cabinet, which he hoped would be done at the next meeting. "It is
now a matter of formality," he said

Bowing to demands by several political parties, government today said
it has decided to include caste in census and the formality of
endorsing it is expected at the next Cabinet meeting.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Lok Sabha that all
political parties had supported the idea of including caste in census
and there was no need for any “apprehensions” over the issue.

His statement came after leaders of BJP, JD(U), BSP and Samajwadi
Party wanted to know as to what happened to the government’s promise
on caste census, particularly since today was the last day of the
Monsoon Session of Parliament.

The Group of Ministers, which examined the issue, has decided that
caste census should be carried out during house enumeration exercise,
the Leader of the House said.

It will be limited to collection of information with regard to caste
and biometric exercise will go on simultaneously, he said about the
issue which had earlier divided the Cabinet and even the GoM headed by
Mr. Mukherjee.

“The government has more or less decided (to include caste in
census),” Mr. Mukherjee said.

Noting that the 11-member GoM was not an empowered body, he said its
decision will now have to be endorsed by the Cabinet, which he hoped
would be done at the next meeting. “It is now a matter of formality,”
he said.

Mr. Mukherjee recalled that after suggestions for inclusion of caste
in census were received, he had written to political parties and most
of them have responded “positively”.

Earlier, JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav raised the issue, saying the
government had sought views of political parties which had responded
in writing.

However, nothing was heard after that, despite assurances by Mr.
Mukherjee who held three meetings with leaders of various political
parties on the issue, Mr. Yadav said.

“There is unease in the country,” he said, demanding early response
from the government.

He was supported by SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, BJP Deputy Leader
Gopinath Munde and Dara Singh Chauhan (BSP).

Mulayam Singh Yadav said there was consensus in the House over
inclusion of caste in census and there was “no party which did not
support it.”

He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mr. Mukherjee had promised
to implement it at the earliest but despite that it had not happened.

“What is the reason for this? What should we do? Where should we go?
We want the House to function but there should be a response from the
government,” he said.

Mr. Munde also asked the government to spell out its intentions.


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