'Simple' way for caste headcount proposed

This is in the backdrop of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s assurance in Parliament on Friday that the Union Cabinet “will take a decision shortly” on the issue.

The TNBCC, a statutory body headed by Justice M S Janarthanam, said all that the census needs to do is to get the caste of the respondents with respect to the ‘Others’ category. The 2001 census already has a caste-wise break up of SC/ST communities.

Except that the enumerators have to be trained effectively in filling up the above particular, the system would require no additional allocation of funds by the Centre, which proposed to spend nearly Rs 6,000 crore for the 2011 census project, Janarthanam contended.

Once the caste enumeration was done, the time-tested criterion for determining caste status as ‘Backward’, ‘Most Backward’ or ‘Others’, being employed by the statistics department of the states, could be applied, Janarthanam suggested. This would entail a small additional expenditure, which the states could bear, Janarthanam argued.

“The caste enumeration if done as stated will be authentic,” Janarthanam said, adding there was also a need for a National Population Register based on the 2011 census.

The DMK government is likely to go the TNBCC way on the issue. But with the Budget session of the Assembly in progress, it may want to gauge the views of all parties before formalising its stand, particularly that of the Vanniyar-dominated Pattali Makkal Katchi, which has been long demanding proportional representation in jobs and education based on a caste-based census.

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