The ongoing debate on caste based surveys in the state of Bihar prolonged this week, while the BJP led NDA took potshots at Nitish Kumar’s government. The Centre informed the Supreme Court on Monday that it had been designated as the only institution able to carry out a census. At the same time, there was continued emphasis on the difference between census and survey by the prime minister and his deputy.
“The responsibility to conduct a census has been restricted by the Central Government, but we wish to continue the examination of the state. The census is done at the Centre level, and we are not able to do it. In this way, we are going to get financial data on different people, various castes, rich and poor, Hindus or Muslims residing in our country so that we can work for their welfare and progress,” Kumar said.
Last week RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav made a familiar statement with this in line. We’re neither conducting nor wishing for a caste census, it’s a caste based survey. As provided in the Constitution, a caste census is for the Union Government’s benefits. It will give us quantitative information and we’ll get scientific data. We’re planning to look at the economy as well. ‘Cause in every section, we’re persuaded that people are poor. We will come up with schemes after we know where the poverty is and provide benefits for them. ‘If we don’t know what the economic situation is, how can we decide who should be given reservation?’ said the Deputy CM of Bihar.
The Central Government’s submission of an affidavit in the Supreme Court opposing the Bihar government’s decision has been criticized by leading politicians, including the leader of the Janata Dal United, Vijay Kumar Chaudhary.
While the process was delayed for some time due to legal and policy obstacles, last month a green light had been given to the government of Bihar. On Friday, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced that the caste Based Survey had been completed.
“The caste based headcount in the state has been finished. Data is being gathered right now, which will be disclosed in due course. The caste survey in the state is a good thing for all. It’s going to make it convenient for the government to work on improving different sections of society,” he said.
“No direction has ever been given to suspend this exercise by the SC. The High Court of Patna dismissed a plea to declare that the caste census in Bihar was invalid and upheld an initiative taken by the state government for full validity and legal enforceability. The State Department has continued with the exercise and finished it”,Kumar said.