BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday reiterated the State government's support to caste-based census and reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
"We are examining the entire matter thoroughly and will come up with a solution very soon. We will do whatever is sensible for our people," he said when asked about his government's stand on the proposed caste census.
While replying to a question on reservation for OBCs, the Chief Minister said, "Our government stands by it, we are fighting for it." Naveen was replying to questions from the media after attending a meeting of chief ministers of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected states convened by Union Home Minister Amit Shah at New Delhi.
The ruling BJD has been firmly in support of caste census. The regional party is of the view that a focused programme for welfare of backward castes cannot be formulated in the absence of reliable and authentic data about the exact number of Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) or OBC population.
The State Cabinet on January 11, 2020 had given its nod to estimation of the number of SEBCs after the proposal for caste-based census was rejected by the Centre. Subsequently, an OBC Commission was constituted. A delegation of BJD MPs had also met Union Home Minister and given a memorandum in support of caste census.
Meanwhile, the State government has announced reservation not exceeding 27 per cent for OBCs in the upcoming panchayat polls. It has amended the relevant panchayat acts to announce the reservation not exceeding 27 per cent for OBCs in order conform to Supreme Court’s ceiling of 50 per cent.