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Updated: June 9, 2010 03:17 IST

Pranab to head group on caste enumeration

Smita Gupta
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Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee at the Parliament House in New Delhi. File Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
The Hindu Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee at the Parliament House in New Delhi. File Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will head the promised Group of Ministers (GoM) that will examine the modalities of enumeration of caste in Census 2011, senior government sources told The Hindu.

The GoM was constituted on June 4, nine days after the Union Cabinet took a decision to do so. Its 10 other members are the representatives of all the Congress' partners in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA): Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily, Renewable EnergyMinister Farooq Abdullah, Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, Social Justice Minister Mukul Wasnik and Minister of State for Minority Affairs Salman Khurshid.

The government order merely says that the GoM will look into the question of “enumeration of caste, other than Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, in Census 2011” and adds that the report must be submitted to the Prime Minister “expeditiously.”

The setting up of the GoM follows the acceptance of Mr. Mukherjee's suggestion at the Cabinet meeting on May 26 that the complexity of the issue demanded a more detailed discussion, possible only in a meeting of the GoM. At that Cabinet meeting — the second to discuss the issue after the meet on May 4 — the sense that emerged was that the mood across the political spectrum was in favour of a caste-based Census and to resist it would place the UPA on the wrong side of history. Indeed, at that meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal pointed out that since there was across-the-board support for it, as reflected in the parliamentary debate on the issue, the government should go ahead with it.

Sources said the government was most likely to accept Mr. Chidambaram's suggestion that the caste-based headcount should be done after the Census figures are tabulated, during the biometric capture phase when photographing, fingerprinting and iris mapping of citizens for the National Population Register (NPR) are done, rather than attempting it during the second phase.

Minister of State for Home Ajay Maken, who had hit the headlines after writing an impassioned letter to all young MPs opposing a caste-based census, took stock of the ongoing Census exercise on Tuesday. He appealed to the people to retain the slips given to them after they submitted filled-up Census forms, as they would be required during the NPR exercise.

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Reservation is not mere a means for representation.It is a compensation. Caste wise head count will lead to 'caste majoritarianism '. we have already seen the evils of ' religious majoritarianism '. This is more dangerous than that.
Ravikumar MLA
Gen. Secretary,Viduthalai Ciruthaikal Katchi (VCK)Tamilnadu

from:  Ravikumar MLA
Posted on: Jun 9, 2010 at 00:29 IST

Why GOI focus economic issues of peopel why ask for caste of person isnt enuff we are already divided on religion. why make this division legal. so x y z caste is suffering becoz of economic issue not becoz of caste itself. why dont ask people how much they earn which can be easily found out and hel the gove target population BPL, rather targer a particular caste religion what nonsense does congress want to do now. STOP PLAYING THIS NONSESNE VOTE BANK POLITICS. teach people how to live with crutches rather make them look like blood sucking leechs who take opportunotes becoz they are born into a caste or religion. Please give people diginity not shame.

from:  ashok
Posted on: Jun 8, 2010 at 23:43 IST

Making sense of history to determine whether one is on the right or the wrong side of history requires clear vision and leadership. But when leaders follow, the direction they take is only the right side of political expediency.

from:  Transcultura
Posted on: Jun 8, 2010 at 23:02 IST
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