Eight political parties send views on caste in census

Last Updated: Thursday, August 5, 2010 - 22:08

New Delhi: At least eight political parties,
including Samajwadi Party and DMK, have sent their comments to
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on whether caste should be
included in the ongoing census.

Sources said Mukherjee, who heads the GoM on the
politically sensitive issue, had last month written letters to
political parties seeking their views on the matter.
The BJP is expected to send the views tomorrow while
Congress is likely to communicate its response on Monday.

Views so far received from the eight political parties
were reportedly both in favour and against inclusion of
caste in the census, sources said.

Mukherjee wrote the letter as the GoM in its July 1
meeting failed to reach a conclusion whether caste should
be included in census.

A meeting of the GoM is likely to be held next week.

The Ministerial body had discussed the controversial
issue in detail, deliberating on the pros and cons of
including caste in census, sources said.

Some members of the GoM favoured inclusion of caste
while others were opposed, contending that it could harm the
social fabric of the country, they said.

Government had in July decided to set up the GoM on the
controversial issue after consensus eluded two meetings of the
Union Cabinet.
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 for their
demands.

There are divisions even within Congress over the issue.
Caste census was last conducted in the country in 1931.

Besides 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 Maran.

The issue of inclusion of caste in census has triggered
a debate with a section opposing it saying 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.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, August 5, 2010 - 22:08

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