Caste-based Census is necessary, PMK tells Centre

Caste-based Census is necessary, NDA ally PMK tells Centre

Representative Image. Credit: DH File Photo

A nationwide, caste-wise enumeration, as part of the Census is an unavoidable necessity and hence should be carried out by the central government, Pattali Makkal Katchi founder leader S Ramadoss said on Sunday.

Pointing to the Union government's contention in the Supreme Court of a policy decision since 1951 against caste-wise enumeration, the PMK leader said taking such a stand is not in sync with the present times. It is a fact that it has been the Centre's policy for decades, but this is "not correct," he said in a statement.

The reasons listed out by the central government for carrying out a count of Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the Census applied equally for Other Backward Classes and such data is sought by several High Courts and the Supreme Court, he said.

If caste-wise data is not collected, there is a "danger" of reservation for OBCs "disappearing" over the next few years and hence, caste-wise enumeration in Census is necessary and cannot be avoided.

Read | Caste Census of backward classes administratively difficult, Government tells Supreme Court

The Centre's contention that "while working towards a casteless society, a caste-wise enumeration is not needed" only showed that it has not understood the subject. Only an egalitarian society could help create a casteless society and to make sure that it happened, all castes should witness development. For that, reservation is the foundation and to ensure it, caste-wise enumeration in Census is necessary and the Union government should realise this, Ramadoss said.

On the Union government's claims on practical difficulties, he said the Britishers had carried out the exercise during an era — between 1881 and 1931 — when there were no developments in science and technology as seen today and the enumeration had a "99 per cent accuracy," and only based on such data, reservation for OBCs is provided.

"It is to be pointed out that Karnataka had undertaken a caste-wise enumeration four years ago." The Centre also pointed that its list of OBCs differed from that of states, Ramadoss said adding it is not a problem. Even if a headcount was done based on Centre's OBC list, it could be used in accordance with the requirements of state governments.

Also Read | Tejashwi writes to non-BJP leaders on caste census

"Necessity is the mother of invention. In India, there is an unavoidable necessity for a caste-wise enumeration in Census. Considering it, if a decision is taken to carry it out, all practical problems can be addressed." The central government should hence, carry out the 2021 Census by including caste wise enumeration, he said.

Days ago, the Centre had told the Supreme Court that caste Census of Backward Classes is administratively difficult and cumbersome" and excluding such information from the purview of Census is a "conscious policy decision".

PMK is part of the National Democratic Alliance in Tamil Nadu. The PMK's cadre base is predominantly, Vanniya Kula Kshatriyas, falling under the Most Backward Classes (MBC) category in the state.

Check out latest DH videos here

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox