Union Cabinet discusses caste data in census

Against the backdrop of demand for inclusion of caste data in the on-going Census, the Union Cabinet today discussed the issue at length but there was no consensus.

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of demand for
inclusion of caste data in the on-going Census, the Union
Cabinet today discussed the issue at length but there was no
consensus.

The cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh, took up the issue to ascertain views of its members
ahead of a discussion expected in Parliament tomorrow.

The issue, which was included in the cabinet agenda an
hour before the meeting, saw many ministers favouring
inclusion of caste data in the census, sources said.

However, there was a feeling against carrying out the
exercise at this stage as the enumeration of the population
has already begun since April one.

Sources said another opinion voiced in the meeting was
that census is not the "right mechanism" for determining
the caste data.

The discussion was inconclusive and it was decided that
the matter would be debated in the next cabinet meeting as
well.

Leaders, mostly from Other Backward Castes, cutting
across party lines have demanded that caste be included in the
census exercise.

A discussion on the issue is scheduled for tomorrow in
Parliament.

The last census in which caste data was collected, was in
1931.

Even Law Minister M Veerappa Moily has agreed to
include caste in census.

Opposition parties, including BJP, SP, RJD, JD(U) and
CPI, have been demanding that since reservation and other
benefits were given to people on the basis of caste,
government should include it in the census data being
collected across the country.

Raising the issue in Lok Sabha yesterday, Leader of the
Opposition Sushma Swaraj had said government should agree to a
debate on allowing caste-based census to resolve the issue.

-PTI

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