New Delhi: A meeting of the Union Cabinet is
likely to take a decision on the issue of caste-based census
next week, amid indications that the government may concede to
the demands from various parties for such an exercise.
"The issue of caste census is expected to come before the
Cabinet next week," government sources said.
The indication to this effect came after a meeting of
Congress Core Group presided over by party chief Sonia Gandhi.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P
Chidambaram, senior leaders Pranab Mukherjee, A K Antony and
Gandhi`s political secretary Ahmed Patel attended the meeting.
Finance Minister Mukherjee has already justified the
demand for conducting a caste-based census and said it should
not have been discontinued post-independence.
"The caste-based census was last conducted in the year
1931 and the practice should have continued in the
post-independence period also but it did not happen. Now the
UPA government has taken an initiative in this regard," he had
said at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh a few days back.
Earlier, on the last day of the budget session in Lok
Sabha, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assured the House that
government would take a decision on the matter shortly.
"I am aware of the views of the members of Parliament
belonging to all sections. I assure you that the Cabinet will
take a decision shortly," Singh had said.
The Prime Minister`s statement mollified agitated
opposition members who had forced adjournment of the House
after Home Minister Chidambarm virtually ruled out inclusion
of caste in the exercise.
A senior Congress functionary strongly favoured caste
census saying it has become a necessity now.
The leader on condition of anonymity said the caste
census will bring out actual figures of the population of
various sub-castes among the OBCs and could "actually expose
those masquerading themselves as champion of OBC politics".
The party leader said the knowledge of the actual number
of OBCs and their various sub-castes will also help political
parties during elections and the government in prescribing
various affirmative actions.
Samajwadi Party, RJD and JD-U have been strongly
demanding inclusion of caste in the census exercise. The
demand also has BJP`s support.