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Siddaramaiah for caste enumeration

Special Correspondent

‘Castes have only grown stronger since Independence'

— Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Common view:Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah with the former chairman of the Karnataka State Backward Classes Commission Ravivarma Kumar (centre) and Devanooru Mahadeva at the release of ‘Caste Census: Towards an Inclusive India' in Bangalore on Thursday.

Bangalore: Inclusion of caste enumeration in the 2011 census is vital to understand how various communities have fared socially and economically since Independence and frame fact-based policies, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah has said.

Speaking after releasing “Caste Census: Towards an Inclusive India” released by the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, National Law School of India University here on Thursday, he said that it should be done during the census and not later at the biometric stage.

Castes had only grown stronger since Independence, he said, and caste census alone would give us concrete proof of the extent to which the nation's resources had been distributed equitably since then. The former chairman of the Karnataka State Backward Classes Commission Ravivarma Kumar argued against caste enumeration being clubbed with the biometric data collection process. He said that the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was not a constitutional body and a survey done by it would not be comprehensive, as it would not include those aged below 15. Mr. Kumar said that Nandan Nilekani, chairman of UIDAI, could not be trusted with the process of caste enumeration, as he was openly opposed to backward classes reservation.

Well-known writer Devanooru Mahadeva said that lack of information on the numerical strength of castes had led to distrust and animosity among Dalit castes, with each inflating their numbers and feeling that they were not adequately represented.

He said the word “community” could be used instead of “caste”, as the latter word came loaded with connotations of hierarchy. The word “community”, on the other hand, denoted a distinct cultural entity, he added.

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