Thursday, September 2, 2010

Caste Census Consensus

After much of a row among the various political parties, the UPA government decided to constitute a 11-member GoM (Group of  Ministers), headed by the H'ble Finance Minister, Shri Pranab Mukherjee.On the last day of the Monsoon session of the Parliament, i.e, on 31st August 2010, the Finance Minister declared in the parliament that the GoM headed by him, has more-or-less decided in favor of including caste in census 2011. However, the final report is yet to be submitted by the GoM, which is proposed to be presented in the next session of the Parliament. The Finance Minister is confident that the decision of the GoM will be upheld in the parliament by the other ministers and that it is now just a formality to gain consensus in the upper house. The demand of caste based census has been urged frm many years but whoever the ruling government, NDA or UPA, 
neglected it.

Due to the overwhelming pressure from the various parties, its was finally considered by UPA-II and the GoM was constituted. The basic question arises that why do we need a caste census now as we didn't realize its importance in the last 60 years The answer is that the government has been entrapped in its own mousetrap as for the reservations of SCs, STs and especially OBCs., there is no proper documentation of the population of these categories, though there had been many trials to determine these numbers like the Kelkar and the Mandal Commissions. The government had also set up National backward classes Commission  to look into the figures of OBCs so that the 27% OBC reservations can distinguishably given to that population rather than the others taking the advantage of this.
Last time caste based census in India was conducted in 1931 by the British. Post independence, the necessity of caste based census was not realized and thus was discouraged. In the 2001 census also, there was a demand for caste based census but the then ruling govt. NDA declined the demand. Now, in 2011, the caste based census will be conducted and will begin in December. Contradictory forces suggest that caste based census will divide the country and caste-ism will again become prevalent in the society. But, if we see the matrimony advertisements, we will find that not only castes, even sub-castes prevail in the society predominantly.Hence, there must be no apprehensions on the fact that caste census will help the administration to streamline the quotas it has provided and benefit only those for whom it is meant for.

Our country comprises of a  highly diversified population, unlike any other country. Development of the country is not possible by leaving behind the backward classes. The figures and proper documentation of the data of reservations must be maintained so that maximum benefits can be derived from the amendments made by the government for people's welfare.Recently, in Chennai, the RTI report filed by a citizen revealed that inspite of the government constituting many Commissions to foresee the proper implementation of the quota system, only 7% of the posts in the service sector is offered to the OBCs, instead of 27%. It implies that there is a major population which is taking disguised advantage illicitly. Therefore, the caste based census will certainly help in curbing this crisis of the government in dividing the population into accordingly in tone with the quota system and involving those communities in priority sectors and  as special-care population. This will be a boost for the low-income groups and the low class citizens to live a cheerful life. Lets welcome the caste based census 2011. Friends, your queries and suggestions are always invited.

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