Caste census to be undertaken from biometric stage: GOM

     The Group of Ministers (GoM) cleared the inclusion of caste in census here on Wednesday saying the exercise would be undertaken from the biometric stage, restricting months of uncertainty over the issue that had divided many parties. The committee, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, met a few days after the deadline ended for political parties to submit their views on the issue. Most of the political parties favoured inclusion of caste in the census, which began on April 1. BJP has already supported the inclusion of caste in census, a move being vociferously advocated by parties like SP, RJD and JD(U). Two days ago, the Congress Core Group headed by party chief Sonia Gandhi had deliberated on the issue amid differences in the party. The Congress did not write formally to the GoM, its views were articulated by Mukherjee who had given hints in this regard recently. The biometric phase which is expected to start sometime in December, covers photographing, fingerprinting and iris mapping of citizens for the National Population Register (NPR). Every person aged over 15 will be photographed and fingerprinted to create a biometric national database that will form the base of a new National Population Register of the nation's 1.2 billion population. The camps for biometric stage would be set up across the country to collect fingerprint and iris scan of people.

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