Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik

Bill identifying socially backward classes passed in Odisha Assembly

ANI | Updated: Feb 18, 2020 11:43 IST

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], Feb 18 (ANI): The Odisha Assembly on Monday passed the Odisha State Backward Classes (Amendment) Bill. The move will enable the state's Backward Class Commission to conduct a survey for identifying socially and economically backward classes on the basis of socio-educational status.
Moving the resolution in the Assembly, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik called the step "historic."
"In a historic move today, this August House has resolved to amend the Odisha State Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993, to enable the Commission to make a survey of the social and educational conditions of the people belonging to the backward classes," Patnaik said.
The Chief Minister also informed the Assembly that on February 12, the state government constituted the Odisha State Commission for Backward Classes with Retired Justice Raghunath Biswal as its chairperson.
The state government said that the events and developments of last few years necessitated it to pass the Bill.
The last caste Census was declared in 1931. Later in 2011, the data of Other Backward Class (OBC) was collected but it was not released, following which, the BJP, during the general elections in 2014, criticised the Congress-led UPA government for not releasing the casted data and promised to release it if comes to power.
However, during the last five years, the data could still not be released.
"With Century-old data in hand, we cannot make accurate and focussed planning to reach out to the Backward Classes of the society. Government of India realising this need, conducted a Socio-Economic and Caste Census in 2011. In 2017, the Government of India released only a part of this data, which is being used as a basis of identification of beneficiaries for few Government schemes. However, the survey data relating to the Backward Classes was not released. This has put a serious handicap for giving focussed attention towards welfare and empowerment of the backward classes," Chief Minister Patnaik said in the Assembly on Monday.
In 2018, Rajnath Singh as Home Minister reviewed the preparations for Census 2021 and decided to collect data on OBC but nothing much happened.
Therefore, the Odisha government recently sent a resolution to the Centre asking for the collection of OBC caste data through Census.
"The State Cabinet resolved on January 11, 2020, to move the Central Government to include backward class survey as part of the Census 2021. This has been formally moved by the State Government to Central Government. Further, this issue has been raised both in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha by our Members of Parliament. However, there has been no response," the Chief Minister added.
Chief Minister Patnaik, therefore, moved the resolution to take up a survey of backward classes by the state. The resolution was adopted unanimously by the house.
On the occasion, Patnaik asserted that it is important to have reliable data about the backward classes of Odisha to further accelerate inclusive growth. (ANI)