Issue of caste-based census resurfaces in Lok Sabha

After a gap of several months, the controversial issue of caste-based census resurfaced in the Lok Sabha Tuesday leading to an uproar, education and economic status in the exercise.

Updated: Mar 01, 2011, 14:49 PM IST

New Delhi: After a gap of several months, the
controversial issue of caste-based census resurfaced in the
Lok Sabha Tuesday leading to an uproar, prompting the government
to promise consideration of inclusion of social, education and
economic status in the exercise.

"Whatever ingredients you want to include in the format
(of the caste-based census), finalise it and give to us. We
will look into all those aspects," Leader of the House Pranab
Mukherjee said.

He was responding after various leaders including Gopinath
Munde (BJP), Sharad Yadav (JD-U), Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP),
Lalu Prasad (RJD) and H D Devegowda (JD-S), demanded that the
social, economic and educational status of various castes be
included in the enumeration exercise.

Home Minister P Chidambaram said, "The government has got
the sense of the House. All your suggestions will be carefully
considered and appropriate decision taken."

When the impromptu debate began, he said the decision to
have a caste-based census had been taken earlier and was part
of the Budget Speech by Mukherjee. "The RGI (Registrar General
of India) is a statutory authority which will decide as to how
to carry it (census) out".

Speaking on the issue, Sharad Yadav wanted the economic,
social and educational status of various castes to be
reflected in the census, saying that only mentioning caste
would "only help in elections and not serve any real purpose".

Mulayam Singh Yadav dismissed the "propaganda" that the
Yadav trio, including Lalu Prasad and Sharad Yadav, wanted
caste-based census to promote their caste and said this kind
of census would help reduce the rich-poor gap.

Munde regretted that after 1931, there has been no
caste-based census, while Lalu said it was done away with as
part of a conspiracy. "It will help understand the actual
status of various castes, their financial conditions and also
identify the creamy layer," the RJD leader said.

T R Baalu (DMK) said historically, Indian society has been
identified by different castes and he did not think the
government would be averse to such a census.

Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) said the census should reflect the
socio-economic and educational backwardness of various
sections of society, while Dara Singh Chauhan (BSP) said
justice would be done only when these vulnerable sections
get all facilities in accordance with their strength.

M Thambidurai (AIADMK), Sudip Bandopadhyay (Trinamool
Congress), Bhratruhari Mahtab (BJD), Nama Nageshwar Rao (TDP)
and Sanjeev Naik (NCP) also supported the move.

S D Shariq (National Conference) alleged that some people
carrying out the enumeration "deliberately" wanted to show
lesser number of some sections of the people, while S K
Bwiswmuthiary (Bodoland People`s Front) wanted proper
representation of the condition of tribals in the census.

PTI