NEW DELHI: The decision to collect data on Other Backward Castes (OBCs) in the 2021 Census seems to be a "mischievous step" of the government to further divide the population, Opposition leader Sharad Yadav said on Saturday.
He also demanded that the government ensure comprehensive data about all castes and religious groups, including forward castes, backward castes, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in this Census.
He said the people of the country should know as to what percentage of a community is living in the country and noted that the data on upper castes and other non-reserved categories are also vague.
"This makes it difficult to empirically prove the extent of dominance that upper castes have over wealth and power in the country," Yadav said in a statement.
Caste enumeration, he said, will help the government in deciding its schemes and policies for the reserved classes and also puncture the claims of inflated numbers of some castes which are often claiming their reservation.
"The enumeration of only OBCs in the census seems to be a mischievous step of the government to further divide the population.
I demand that the Government should ensure comprehensive data about caste and religion for all the groups, including forward castes, backward castes and SCs and STs in this census," Yadav said.
Census 2021 will for the first time in independent India collect data on OBCs, a move considered politically significant ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The then V P Singh government had announced 27 per cent reservation for OBCs based on the Mandal Commission recommendation, which was broadly prepared on the basis of the country's last castes data collected in the 1931 census.
The disclosure of the decision to collect the OBC data came after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the preparation for the Census 2021.