The Group of Ministers considering caste enumeration in Census 2011 will write to all political parties asking them to suggest the methodology through which the headcount should be done.
The GoM, which met on Thursday evening, bought some time by deciding on this course, following objections by the Opposition parties to the recommendation it had made at its August 11 meeting to embark on caste enumeration at the biometric stage. These parties wanted the headcount done at the second stage of the census.
On August 12, OBC MPs belonging to the Samajwadi Party, the Janata Dal (United), the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party raised their objections in the Lok Sabha. Later, they met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram and told them that taking up the caste census at the biometric stage would defeat the purpose as it would be a long-drawn process.
Responding to the MPs' allegations that the government was trying to fool them, Mr. Mukherjee said the modalities of caste enumeration had not been decided. He said the GoM had agreed to go ahead with the headcount but the decision on “how and when” would be taken by the Cabinet.