Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has sought an up-to-date caste census from the Centre, pointing out its significance for meaningful social justice and empowerment programmes.
In his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kharge said in the absence of an updated caste census, a reliable data base — so very essential for meaningful social justice and empowerment programmes, particularly for OBCs — is incomplete.
My letter to the Prime Minister demanding the publication of Socio Economic Caste Census.
Regular decennial Census was to be carried out in 2021 but it has not been conducted. We demand that it be done immediately and that a comprehensive Caste Census be made it’s integral part. pic.twitter.com/eoL52gRFC1
— Mallikarjun Kharge (@kharge) April 17, 2023
“I am writing to you to once again place on record the demand of the Indian National Congress for an up-to-date Caste Census. My colleagues and I have raised this demand earlier in both House of Parliament on a number of occasions as have leaders of many other Opposition parties,” the Congress chief wrote.
“You are aware that for the first time the UPA Government conducted a Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) during 2011-12 covering some 25 crore households. For a number of reasons, however, the caste data could not get published even though Congress and other MPs demanded its release after your government came to power in May 2014,” he wrote.
“…This Census is the responsibility of the Union Government,” the latter goes on.
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Demand for regular census
In the letter dated April 16, Kharge also pointed out that the regular decennial census was to be carried out in 2021 but it has not yet been conducted. “We demand that it be done immediately and that a comprehensive Caste Census be made its integral part,” he wrote.
Sharing Kharge’s letter on Twitter, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh posted, “Jitni aabadi, utna haq (rights are proportional to population)! Congress President Kharge ji has written to PM demanding that the decennial Census that should have been conducted in 2021 be done right-away, and a Caste Census be made its integral part. This will put social justice & empowerment on a firmer footing.”
Addressing a rally in Karnataka’s Kolar, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday (April 16) had also dared PM Modi to release the 2011 caste-based census data in public domain and also demanded the 50 per cent cap on reservation be removed.
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“UPA in 2011 did the caste-based census. It has the data of all the castes. Mr Prime Minister, you talk of OBCs. Make that data public. Let the nation know how many OBCs, Dalits, and tribals are there in the country,” Gandhi had said at the Congress Jai Bharat election rally in Kolar in the run-up to the May 10 Karnataka polls.
(With agency inputs)