Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said that the state government will soon call an all-party meeting to discuss the caste-based census. Briefing media persons in Patna, Kumar said, “We will soon call an all-party meeting to discuss the caste-based census. We want to do it so that all political parties reach a consensus and the state government will make an announcement based on the consensus.”
Earlier on Thursday, RJD MP Manoj Kumar Jha moved a Zero Hour Notice in Rajya Sabha on the matter of ‘caste-based census’.
In his letter to Secretary-General of the Upper House, Jha said, “In order to ensure that Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas is a reality, we must urgently count the ladder of our social edifice and for that, it is important that Socio-Economic Caste Census be undertaken on priority and with urgency. While there is a strong possibility of sub-categorization of OBC, we need to have solid scientific data about the relationship between access to several resources vis-a-vis caste.”
He also said, “Denying a caste-based census is denying that a problem exists especially in a country where caste has become not only an identity but a way of life and it has stories of discrimination attached therein. A caste-based census will identify the wealth and education gap between the upper and non-upper caste groups relative to their population and assist in framing targeted policy interventions.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the Centre had said that it has not enumerated caste wise population other than Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the census since independence.
In reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said that the castes and tribes which are specifically notified as Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) as per the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 and the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950, as amended from time to time, are enumerated in the decadal Census.
Rai added that the Centre has not enumerated caste wise populations other than SCs and STs in Census since independence. The Census Schedule is designed in consultation with various stakeholders including Central Ministries.
The intent of the Government for conducting Census 2021 was notified in the Gazette of India on 28 March 2019.
However, due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the Census activities have been postponed.