Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily on Wednesday said a caste-based census will help generate a more “authentic” and fresh data on backward classes in the country.
Mr. Moily, who has been favouring inclusion of castes in the census, said the exercise will be “more authentic, because after 1931 there is no caste-based data with regard to the OBCs... it is more appropriate.”
The Law Minister had a few months ago written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requesting him to include castes in the latest census exercise.
“There are differing views (in the Cabinet) but that does not mean divisions,” he said when asked about the lack of consensus at the Cabinet meeting yesterday on conducting caste-based census.
When pointed out that Home Minister P. Chidambaram had expressed opposition to caste-based census at the Cabinet meeting, Mr. Moily said he was not opposing but only representing the views of the Home Ministry.
Mr. Moily’s Cabinet colleague Farooq Abdullah said the discussions to explore views on caste-based census were for the next census and not the exercise currently underway.
“There is no question of division... The census has already started. So, it is not possible to do it in this census... I don’t think it is possible this time to introduce this,” Mr. Abdullah, Minister for New and Renewable Energy, told reporters outside the Parliament.
“If it had to be done for this census, this discussion should have been held earlier,” said Mr. Abdullah who had participated in the discussions on the issue in the Cabinet meeting.