Bengaluru, Nov 23: The data of the ‘Socio-Economic and Education Survey’, popularly known as caste census, is “safe” and “intact”, according to K Jayaprakash Hegde, chairman of Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes.
His clarification comes following the emergence of documents suggesting that the original report of the caste census is missing from the office of the Commission.
Kicking up a storm, the BJP questioned the credibility of the caste census that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah wants to take forward.
In October 2021, when the BJP was in power, Hegde had written to the government stating that neither the main report nor a photocopy was available in sealed boxes that were opened.
He also brought to the notice of the government that the signature of the member-secretary was missing from the available documents.
In August 2022, a letter was written to Transport Secretary Dr N V Prasad who was the member-secretary of the Commission when the caste census report was finalised. The letter sought Prasad’s response to his missing signature. In this letter, too, the Commission states that the original report and its photocopy were not available in its office.
“It is baffling to note that after spending crores of tax payers’ money to prepare this caste census report, we do not have the original copy,” BJP MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal said in a tweet and asked if the government had filed a police complaint or acted against officials responsible for this.
Former BJP MLA V Sunil Kumar asked the Congress government to clarify before the start of the winter session of the legislature on December 4. “If a government document has gone missing, did someone steal it? Will the government get a fresh report done?” he said.
But according to Hegde, the caste census data is not missing. “The data is 100% correct and intact. The data has the signature of the then chairperson, members and member-secretary. The data has been uploaded safely in our software developed by the BEL,” he said.
Hegde explained that the caste census has two parts -- the data and a resultant report. “In the report comprising recommendations that had to be given to the government, some worksheets are missing,” he said.
The BJP also taunted the Congress for being divided. “In this government, the CM and DyCM have different stands. Who should people believe?” Kumar said while Yatnal accused the Congress of “orchestrating this spectacle” for the Lok Sabha polls.