Caste-based census decision soon: PM

Caste-based census decision soon: PM

“I am aware of the views of the members of Parliament belonging to all sections. I assure you that the Cabinet will take a decision shortly,” Singh said. The assurance from Singh seemed to have calmed down a section of  agitated opposition members who were not happy with Union Home Minister P Chidambaram's who virtually ruled out caste-based census. The Opposition had forced adjournment of the House over the issue after the Home Minister ruled out inclusion of caste in Census 2010.

The PM's response came after RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and JD-U leader Sharad Yadav, who have been most vocal among the MPs demanding caste-based census, holding an informal discussion with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi soon after the House got adjourned because of the ruckus over Chidambaram's response.

Replying to the debate, Chidambaram had made it clear that even if the MPs' demands were accepted by the Government, enumerators engaged in the census could only collect - and not verify or analyze - information about the castes of the enumerated citizens.

He stated that Registrar General had pointed out a number of logistic and practical difficulties in canvassing the question of caste while conducting the census. “The 21 lakh enumerators were engaged in the nation-wide headcount exercise and they had been trained to ask questions and record answers as returned by respondents.

“The enumerator is not an investigator or verifier.  And, it must be clearly understood, that the enumerator has no training or expertise to classify the answer as OBC or otherwise,” he said.

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