BJD reiterates demand for caste-based census in Odisha

Party leaders felt that people from backward class communities need to be identified for formulating welfare programmes for them.
Odisha Consumer Welfare Minister RP Swain (File Photo| EPS)
Odisha Consumer Welfare Minister RP Swain (File Photo| EPS)

BHUBANESWAR: A day after an all-party delegation from Bihar led by Nitish Kumar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to press for caste-based census, the BJD reiterated the demand on Tuesday stating that the number of people belonging to backward class communities has to be determined for formulating welfare programmes for them.

Addressing a media conference here, Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain and Agriculture Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo called upon the State BJP leaders to support the issue and pressurise the Centre to agree to caste-based census and lift the ceiling on 50 per cent reservation.

The ministers said that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the Odisha government had demanded caste-based census in the State. But after the Centre turned it down, the State Cabinet on January 11, 2020 passed a resolution for such a census and approved a proposal for the amendment of Odisha State Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993. 

Besides, the State government constituted the State Commission for Backward Classes with the appointment of former High Court Judge Justice Raghunath Biswal as chairman.  The Assembly on February 17, 2020, also passed unanimous resolution to amend the Odisha State Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 to enable the State government to survey the social and educational condition of the people belonging to the backward classes after the Chief Minister presented a proposal in the House.

Stating that the number of the Other Backward Class and the Socially and Economically Backward Classes is more than half of the population of Odisha, the BJD leaders said that the State government has not been able to make 50 pc reservation for them due to the directive of the Court.

A delegation of BJD MPs met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on August 11 at New Delhi and raised the issue. They targeted the State BJP for its silence over the issue and said that many alliance partners of the BJP have also supported the issue after it was raised by the Chief Minister.

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