CM revives caste census project after nine years

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BANGALORE: Nine years after it was mooted, Karnataka will have a caste census done to determine the economic status of each community.

Siddaramaiah had, as deputy chief minister in the Congress-JD(S) coalition government, provided Rs 2 crore in the budget for the project. However, the proposal had not moved forward since then. The Centre also contributed funds, and the amount available now for the purpose is Rs 23 crore. “More than Rs 60 crore is required. The government is ready to fund the rest,” the chief minister said.

Siddaramaiah maintained the census will help know the exact population of a particular caste. “It will also give the government information on the socio-economic status of each caste, and accordingly, welfare schemes of the government can be reached to the marginalized sections,” he said.

Welcoming the move, government sociologist Prof GK Karanth of the Institute of Socio Economic Change (ISEC) said the census will help the government in planning development and public expenditure, and also give a clear idea of the benefits to be given. “Almost all castes demand benefits from the government on the numbers count. It can now prioritize the schemes, depending on the socio-economic status of a particular community,” he said.

Karanth was apprehensive about how the census would be carried out. He raised doubts about government departments conducting it impartially and recommended that a reputed research institute with sociologists and socio-anthropologists should be given the task. “Who will do it and how will you do it, is the big question. Appropriate methodology and human resources should be adopted,” he maintained.

Siddaramaiah’s move for the caste census has found support from BJP quarters. MLA and former minister Aravind Limbavali said a census of each caste was necessary. “It should have been done long ago. At least this government has shown interest, which is a welcome step,” he said.

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