Centre to write to political parties on caste census: Pranab Mukherjee

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Chennai, July 3 (ANI): Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Saturday that the Central Government would be writing to all political parties and seek their opinion on the inclusion of caste in the ongoing census.

" I have apprised Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi of the deliberations of the Group of Ministers (GoM) meeting on the inclusion of caste in the exercise," said Mukherjee after his meeting with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader. "The Group of Ministers will meet further to take a decision on the issue," he added.

On the issue of direct taxes reforms, Mukherjee said all states had been informed about tax reforms, goods and services tax and direct tax code.

"The states have to work in close coordination with Centre in finalising and implementing the reforms," he added.

Earlier on Thursday, the GoM formed to look into the possibilities of including caste in the ongoing census did not take any decision on the issue in its meeting.

The GoM headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was expected to take an expeditious decision as the second part of the census exercise is scheduled to begin in September.

Other members of the GoM are Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, New and Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah, Housing Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee. A section of political leaders from all parties demanded that caste be included in the census.

In May, the Union Cabinet formed the GoM on the issue after consensus could not be reached.

The issue had figured prominently during the last Budget Session.

The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, had assured Parliament that his government would take the views expressed by the House into account before deciding on the matter.

Inclusion of caste in the census was last done in the country in 1931. (ANI)

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