Cabinet okays caste enumeration – in 2011


New Delhi : The union cabinet Thursday gave its approval to the caste census to be implemented through a separate house-to-house enumeration from June to September next year in a process separate from Census 2011.

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“After considering various options based on the response of political parties, the cabinet decided that a separate house-to-house enumeration of caste will be done from June to September 2011,” Home Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters here.

The cabinet meeting was presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Chidambaram said it had been decided to go for a separate enumeration of caste based on the response of political parties that caste should be canvassed but the integrity of the headcount in census 2011 should be protected.

The minister said a suitable legal system for collection of data on caste would be formulated in consultation with the law ministry.

The office government is to constitute an expert group to classify the caste/tribe census after the present enumeration is completed.

He said the Registrar General and Census Commissioner’s office will hand over the details of the castes/tribes to the proposed expert group.

India has not done any caste-wise enumeration after independence. The last caste-wise collection of data took place in the 1931 census.

Various political parties, notably the Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Janata Dal-United, have sought a caste-based census. The government assured parliament that a decision will be taken on the issue soon.

There were different views within the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party on the need for a caste headcount.

A Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee deliberated on the matter in three meetings and gave its recommendations last month favouring caste enumeration.