Union minister demands release of caste census report

Upendra Kushwaha's moves have raised suspicion in the NDA circles as to whether his party RLSP will switch sides by the time of 2019 General Elections. PTI file photo

Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha has demanded that the central government must make the caste census report public so that benefits of various schemes and policies reaches the members of the reserved community commensurate with their actual population.

Kushwaha, who heads the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) and is an NDA ally from Bihar, has pressed for it amid a view that the actual other backward classes (OBCs) population is much higher than what it is in the official records today.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may find the move discomforting as it is believed that the regional OBC satraps like Mulayam Singh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh and Lalu Prasad in Bihar would gain from the release of the caste census report.

There is also a thinking that the release of the report could lead to demands for increased quota for the OBCs, which is currently pegged at 27% as per the Mandal Commission’s recommendation.

“I demand that the government must release the Socio-Economic and Caste Census report at the earliest so that we come to know the percentage of the OBCs in the country. Benefits (of various government schemes and policies) must be accorded to us (OBC community) as per our population. There is need to increase the current ceiling of 27% quota for the OBCs,” Kushwaha said while addressing an event here.

Off late, Kushwaha’s moves have raised suspicion in the NDA circles as to whether his party RLSP will switch sides by the time of 2019 General Elections.

Kushwaha, a leader from Koiri community in Bihar, has a socialist background and was once very close to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with whom he developed serious differences later on. There is much speculation about his increased bonhomie with Lalu nowadays.

The Socio-Economic and Caste Census, initiated in 2016, was completed on March 31, 2016, with an approved cost of Rs 4,893.60 crore.

The nationwide exercise was conducted through “a comprehensive programme” involving the Union ministries for rural development, housing and urban affairs, home affairs, the office of the registrar general and census commissioner, state governments and Union territory administrations.

The government is yet to release the report.

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Union minister demands release of caste census report

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