Political parties yet to respond on caste census

Official sources said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who heads the GoM on the politically-sensitive issue, has written letters to political parties seeking their views on the matter.

However, no political party has responded yet. Mukherjee wrote the letter as the GoM in its July 1 meeting failed to reach a conclusion whether caste should be included in census.

The Ministerial body had discussed the controversial issue in detail, deliberating on pros and cons of including caste in census, sources said.

Some members of the GoM favoured inclusion of caste while others were opposed, contending that it could harm the social fabric of the country, they said.
Government had last month decided to set up the GoM on the controversial issue after consensus eluded at two meetings of the Union Cabinet.

Parties like SP, RJD and JD(U) are strongly in favour of including caste in census and disrupted proceedings of Parliament in the last Budget Session by pressing their demands.

They are likely to raise the issue during Monsoon session of Parliament which will commence from July 26.

There are divisions even within Congress over the issue of caste census which was last conducted in the country in 1931.

Besides Mukherjee, the GoM includes Home Minister P Chidambaram, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee and Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran.

The issue of inclusion of caste in census has triggered a debate with a section opposing it saying it would divide the society on caste lines while others advocate that it would ensure fairer distribution of resources to the backward and downtrodden sections of the society.

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