Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded an up-to-date caste census.
In his letter, Kharge said in the absence of an updated caste census, a reliable database so very essential for meaningful social justice and empowerment programmes, particularly for OBCs, is incomplete.
"I am writing to you to once again place on record the demand of the Indian National Congress for an up-to-date Caste Census. My colleagues and I have raised this demand earlier in both Houses of Parliament on several occasions as have leaders of many other Opposition parties," the Congress chief said in his letter.
"You are aware that for the first time, the UPA Government conducted a Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) during 2011-12 covering some 25 crore households. For several reasons, however, the caste data could not get published even though Congress and other MPs demanded its release after your government came to power in May 2014," he said.
"In the absence of an updated Caste Census, I am afraid a reliable database so very essential for meaningful social justice and empowerment programmes, particularly for OBCs, is incomplete. This Census is the responsibility of the Union Government," Kharge said.
In the letter dated April 16, he also pointed out that the regular decennial census was to be carried out in 2021 but it has not yet been conducted.
"We demand that it be done immediately and that a comprehensive Caste Census be made its integral part," Kharge said.
Sharing Kharge's letter to the prime minister, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh tweeted "Jitni Aabadi, Utna Haq! Congress President @kharge -ji has written to PM demanding that the decennial Census that should have been conducted in 2021 be done right away, and a Caste Census be made it's an integral part. This will put social justice & empowerment on a firmer footing".
Addressing a rally in Katnataka's Kolar, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday also dared Prime Minister Modi to release the 2011 caste-based census data in the public domain and also demanded the 50 per cent cap on reservation be removed.
"UPA in 2011 did the caste-based census. It has the data of all the castes. Mr. Prime Minister, you talk of OBCs. Make that data public. Let the nation know how many OBCs, Dalits, and tribals are there in the country," Gandhi had said at the Congress 'Jai Bharat' election rally in Kolar in the run-up to the May 10 Karnataka polls.