Caste-Based Census: Oppn Questions Odisha Govt Intent

Bhubaneswar: A day after the Odisha Cabinet unanimously decided to move the Centre to conduct a Socio-Economic Caste Enumeration simultaneously along with the General Census in 2021, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday targeted the state government over its failure to implement the recommendations of Mandal Commission.

The Union Minister said that he had urged the state government through a letter on July 25 last year to announce reservation for OBC in government jobs and educational institutions and for SEBC in educational institutions to ensure their social and educational development.

“Article 15(4) and Article Article 16 (4) of the Constitution of India enables the State to make any special provision for the advancement of any socially, and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens not adequately represented in the services. However, Odisha is yet to implement it,” he added.

Senior politician and expelled Congress leader Srikant Jena also questioned the Odisha government for not implementing 27 per cent reservation of OBC and 38.5 per cent reservation for SC/ST. “Around 94 per cent people here are eligible to get caste-based reservations but only 6 per cent are availing it,” he said.

Earlier Congress MP Ranjib Biswal had alleged that the Odisha Cabinet’s move was an attempt to divide on the basis of caste, religion and race.

BJD spokesperson Debi Prasad Mishra defended the decision and said that Socio-Economic Caste Census was needed to prepare a roadmap to development across the state and it was not unconstitutional.

He said that it was step to assimilate all as the state believes in Jagannath’s culture.


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