'Caste Census in National Interest, Govt Must Reconsider': Bihar CM Nitish Kumar

Kumar's statement comes days after the Centre had asserted its opposition to a caste census in the Supreme Court.

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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar </p></div>

Days after the Centre marked its opposition to a caste-based census, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday, 26 September, said that the census should be undertaken in the interest of country.

"Caste census is in the interest of the country. It will help the country's development."
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, as quoted by news agency PTI

Asserting that the demand for caste census had been articulated by various states in addition to Bihar, the chief minister said that he would discuss the matter with the leaders of different parties.

“We will sit together and decide the future roadmap… and if you look closely, this is not just our demand. The demand has been raised in many states, not just in Bihar," he was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

The Centre, on Thursday, had informed the Supreme Court that it found the collection of caste details through a population census was "administratively difficult and cumbersome." The Centre had pointed out that the various discrepancies that had cropped up in the Socio-Economic and Caste Census 2011 (SECC-2011) survey had rendered data collected during the census unusable.

Speaking to reporters in Delhi on Sunday, CM Kumar said that the Centre's affidavit in the court over the socio-economic caste census of 2011 had no bearing on the demand for a caste-based census.

"It has no connection with our demand. We would like to request that the issue be considered and reconsidered, and caste census be carried out,” he said.

Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren-Led All-Party Delegation Meets Amit Shah, Demands Caste Census

An all-party delegation led by Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren placed its demand for a caste-based census before Home Minister Amit Shah, on Sunday.

The delegation led by Soren included the Jharkhand Congress president Rajesh Thakur, BJP state president Deepak Prakash, and RJD leader Satyanand Bhoka, among others.

"In India, people belonging to SC, ST and Backward Classes have faced the brunt of economic and social backwardness for centuries. After Independence, different classes have developed at varied pace as a result of which the gap between rich and poor has widened," the delegation said in a letter handed over to Shah in their meeting.

"In such a situation, caste-based data is needed to remove these disparities. By conducting the caste-based census, there will be many benefits in the policy-making of the country."
The Letter

The delegation further noted that it felt that the Centre's decision against the conduction of a caste census was "unfortunate," and said, "If caste census is not conducted now, then neither educational, nor social, political or economic conditions of the backward/extremely backward castes will be properly assessed. This will hamper the formulation of a right policy for their betterment."

The Congress' state president said the Home Minister Shah assured the delegation that he will look into the matter, PTI reported.

(With inputs from PTI and The Indian Express)

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Edited By :Padmashree Pande
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