GoM to decide caste-based census issue

“The Cabinet has accorded in-principle approval to referring the issue to a group of ministers,” official sources, said after a Cabinet meeting.“There was intense discussion in the Cabinet on the issue and it was felt that, given the diverse views on the issue, it would be best that a group of ministers considers such an emotive issue,” sources said.
The Centre’s next focus will be to chart out the modalities to form the group.

Though no official announcement has been made about it yet, the GoM is likely to be headed by United Progressive Alliance government’s main trouble-shooter, Pranab Mukherjee.

The issue generated heat during the Budget session of the Parliament, with both the Opposition and some constituents of the United Progressive Alliance demanding for the headcount to help design and implement development schemes among the backward castes better.

The issue was projected to be so much a need that Janata Dal United’s Sharad Yadav even warned of a “volcanic eruption” (of people from the backward castes) if it was not done.Such was the pressure from the political parties that on the concluding day of the session on May 7, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had to give an assurance that the Cabinet would soon take a decision on the issue.However, the Centre’s latest move shows it fears carrying out the headcount might trigger passions similar to those of the Mandal days.It is also apprehensive about how the census will be carried out, as castes are categorised differently in different states.Caste-based census was last conducted in the country in the year 1931.

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