Caste-based census: PM Modi, Nitish Kumar-led 10-party delegation meeting begins
The meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the delegation of 10 parties led by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to discuss a caste-based census is underway in Delhi.
New Delhi: The meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the delegation of 10 parties led by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to discuss a caste-based census is underway in Delhi. Besides Bihar Chief Minister, other members of the delegation include RJD's Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, JD(U) leader Vijay Kumar Choudhary, who is also the minister for education and parliamentary affairs, former Chief Minister and President of Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) Jitan Ram Manjhi, Congress legislature party leader Ajeet Sharma and BJP leader and Bihar minister Janak Ram, CPI-ML legislature party leader Mahboob Alam, Akhtarul Imam of AIMIM, Mukesh Sahni of VIP, Suryakant Paswan of CPI and Ajay Kumar of CPI(M).
Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United), which is an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bihar, is in favour of a caste-based census. He has been advocating for a caste-based census in the country and had thus sought an appointment with the Prime Minister. Leader of Opposition in Bihar Legislative Assembly Tejashwi Yadav also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the demand for a caste-based census.
Nitish Kumar had said a resolution regarding the caste-based census was passed unanimously in Bihar Legislative Assembly as well as the Legislative Council in 2019. A resolution was passed unanimously once again in 2020 in the state Legislative Assembly. "The demand of the caste census is not just the demand from Bihar but other states also. The Opposition parties in Bihar also wanted to meet the Prime Minister with us. We had written a letter to the Prime Minister regarding this," Bihar chief minister had earlier said.
"We want a caste-based Census and it is our long-standing demand. A caste-based Census will help all castes to get their exact numbers so that policies can be made accordingly. Caste census is in the interest of all. It is for the benefit of the country. It is the job of the central government to take a decision regarding the caste census. It is not a political issue but a social one," Nitish Kumar had said. Kumar, meanwhile, stated that if Centre does not agree then "Bihar will proceed to conduct a caste-based census."
However, the Central government has so far refused to accede to the demand. On July 20, in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai had said: "The Government of India has decided as a matter of policy not to enumerate caste-wise populations other than SCs and STs in the census." On March 10, 2021, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had clarified on caste-related details received from the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) 2011 to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. In a reply, the Union Home Ministry said that raw caste data has been provided to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) for the classification and categorisation of the data.
"The Office of the Registrar General, India had provided logistics and technical support in conducting the SECC-2011. The raw caste data has been provided to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) for the classification and categorization of the data. As informed by MoSJE, there is no proposal to release the caste data at this stage," the Home Ministry had said. (ANI)