Pressure mounting on Congress govt in Karnataka to make caste census report public

06:57 PM Oct 03, 2023 | PTI |

Bengaluru: With the Bihar government releasing findings of its caste survey, pressure seems to be mounting on the Karnataka government, especially within the ruling Congress, to make the state’s Socio-economic and Educational Census, popularly known as the ‘caste census’, public.


The then Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in 2015 had commissioned the Social and Educational Survey, at an estimated cost of Rs 170 crore in the state, the findings of which have not been made public yet.

The state Backward Classes Commission under its then chairperson H Kantharaj was tasked to come up with the caste census.

According to some analysts, the successive governments were shying away from releasing it, as the findings of the survey are allegedly contrary to the ”traditional perception” of the numerical strength of various castes in Karnataka, especially the dominant Lingayats and Vokkaligas, making it a political hot potato.

Political parties in the state have been indulging in a blame game for long, for not accepting the survey and not making it public.


Senior Congress leader B K Hariprasad complimenting Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, urged his party government in Karnataka to release the caste census data at the earliest .

”Caste census is a long-standing demand as it will help in getting various communities the right they deserve. It has been the desire of our top leader Rahul Gandhi for long that there should be a caste census both in the state and the country and on the basis of it, the population programmes have to be designed. For it to become fruitful, the Kantharaj Commission’s report that is there has to be made public,” Hariprasad said.

Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, he said, by rectifying the shortcomings in that report if any, it needs to be implemented.

”If the report is not discussed in public, it will not yield any results. There is nothing in it to keep it secret. The census has been done with public money, about Rs 170 crore has been spent on it. The previous BJP government did not implement it, as now our own government is there, it has to be made public and later after discussion in both Houses of Legislature let the government decide on its implementation,” he added.

Pointing out that Siddaramaiah is the Chief Minister from the Congress, Hariprasad, who has publicly criticised the CM in the past, in response to a question said, as party top leader Rahul Gandhi has said caste census has to happen and on the basis of it programmes have to be formulated, ”we are in complete support that it should be made public and efforts should be put towards bringing it into effect.”

Kota Srinivas Poojary, who was Minister for Social Welfare and Backward Classes Welfare in the previous BJP government had earlier cited the then member-secretary of the State Commission for Backward Classes not signing the final report, as the ”technical hurdle” that has hindered the release of the report.

He had said, the caste census report is currently with the Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes, and once it submits the report, the cabinet would take a decision. The present Karnataka State Permanent Backward Classes Commission Chairperson K Jayaprakash Hegde today said the report is likely to be submitted to the government by next month.

”There was a technical problem, the report that was made ready earlier was without the signature of the member-secretary…It’s now before us, we are finalising it. We will submit it to the government…maybe next month.” Meanwhile, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said once the Karnataka State Permanent Backward Classes Commission submits the report, his government will decide on it.

”After ordering for the caste census, I had tasked the Backward Classes Commission under Kantharaj to prepare a report. By the time our government’s tenure ended the report was not complete and it was not completed. The coalition government (Congress-JD(S)) headed by H D Kumaraswamy came to power subsequently, he did not accept the report, later Kantharaj’s tenure too ended,” he explained.

The current Chairperson of the Commission Jayaprakash Hegde was appointed by the BJP government, who has to submit a report duly signed by the member-secretary, he said, ”if he submits the report, let’s see…I had asked (Hegde) once, he said he will submit, but it has not come to us yet.”

Welcoming the Bihar government’s move, PWD Minister Satish Jarkiholi said, it’s a good development and his desire is that similar steps should be taken in the state too, and discussions are on in this regard at the government level.

”Our state’s caste census report has been ready for several years now, the government and the Chief Minister have to decide on it. There is pressure to make it public, it is good if it is made public, by making it public it will know about the programmes to be formulated for the communities and if extra budget was required for their economic and social development,” he said.

The report had come during the fag end of Congress’ earlier tenure in the government and as there were elections it could not be proceeded with, he said, adding ”now that we have come to power, discussions are on in this regard at the government level and our desire is it should be done at the earliest.”


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