New Delhi: Bowing to demands by several
political parties, government Tuesday 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 Mukherjee.
"The government has more or less decided (to include
caste in census)," 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.
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 Mukherjee who held three meetings with leaders of various
political parties on the issue, 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 Mukherjee had
promised to implement it at the earliest but despite that it
had not happened.
"What is the reason for this? What should be we do?
Where should we go? We want the House to function but there
should be a response from the government," he said.
Munde also asked the government to spell out its