Conduct national caste census to ensure social justice: Congress

New Delhi: The Congress on Monday welcomed the Bihar government’s move to release the findings of a caste census and called upon the Centre to immediately conduct a similar exercise at the national level to ensure social justice and provide a firm foundation for social empowerment programmes.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said the caste census of Bihar has proved that 84 per cent of people in the state are OBCs, SCs and STs and their share should be according to their population.

“Out of 90 secretaries of the central government, only 3 are OBC, who handle only 5 per cent of India’s budget. Therefore, it is important to know the caste statistics of India…,” Gandhi said in a post in Hindi on X.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the UPA government led by the Congress had conducted a census but its results were not published by the Modi government.

“The Bihar government has just released the results of the Caste Survey conducted by it in the state. While welcoming the initiative and recalling similar earlier surveys in other states like Karnataka by Congress governments, the Indian National Congress reiterates its demand that the Union government conduct a national Caste Census at the earliest,” he said in a post on X.

“The UPA-2 government had, in fact, completed this Census but its results were not published by the Modi government. Such a Census has become essential for providing a firmer foundation for social empowerment programmes and for deepening social justice,” Ramesh also said.

If the Modi government does not carry out a caste census, it will be conducted as soon as the Congress government is formed so that every section can get their right, the opposition party said.

The Congress also said in a post on X that the figures of the caste-based census in Bihar are indicative of the share of various classes in society.

“Today the country needs such a census so that their participation can be decided as per their population. This is the reason why Rahul Gandhi ji is demanding a caste census in the entire country.

“The Congress government in Karnataka has also conducted caste-based census and we are always in favour of it,” the party said.

The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar on Monday released findings of its much-awaited caste survey which revealed that OBCs and EBCs constitute a whopping 63 percent of the state’s total population.

According to the data released here by Development Commissioner Vivek Singh, the state’s total population stood at a little over 13.07 crore, out of which the Extremely Backward Classes (36 percent) were the largest social segment followed by the Other Backward Classes at 27.13 percent.

The survey also stated that Yadavs, the OBC group to which Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav belongs, was the largest in terms of the population, accounting for 14.27 per cent of the total.

Dalits, also known as the Scheduled Castes, accounted for 19.65 per cent of the total population in the state, which is also home to nearly 22 lakh (1.68 per cent) people belonging to the Scheduled Tribes.

Those belonging to the “unreserved” category and form the so-called “upper castes” comprise 15.52 per cent of the total population.