A caste census is the “X-ray of India” as it would show the demographic composition of the population and help in inclusive planning, said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday, reported The New Indian Express.

“Once such data are known to the people, the nation can move ahead taking them along and giving their share and contribution,” said Gandhi at the Awas Nyay Sammelan organised by the Chhattisgarh government in Bilaspur.

He added: “Why is PM Modi afraid of it? I told him to let the truth of his government be known to the citizens of Hindustan without any fear.”

He claimed that the Narendra Modi government has the data from a caste census conducted by the Congress. “The Union government has this report but Modiji doesn’t want to reveal it,” said Gandhi, according to The Hindu.

He asserted that his party would conduct a caste census if elected to power.

The Wayanad MP reiterated that out of the 90 secretaries to the government of India, only three are from the OBC community. “These three persons control only 5% of the country’s budget,” he said on the need for proportional representation.

Gandhi had brought up the issue of a caste census on September 20 as well. In the Lok Sabha, Gandhi had said that he looked at different institutions and the participation of the OBC community in them. Quoting the data about OBC representation in secretarial roles, he had said: “Out of Rs 44 lakh crore, they control just Rs 2.7 lakh crore.”

On Monday, Gandhi also launched the state government’s Gramin Awas Nyay Yojna and waved a remote control at the crowd.

“When the button of the Congress remote control is pressed the beneficiaries of welfare schemes get money directly into their bank account,” he said. “But On the other hand, when the Bharatiya Janata Party presses their remote, Adani gets ports, airports and railway contracts.”

The Gramin Awas Nyay Yojna is aimed at providing financial assistance to the homeless and families having kutcha houses in rural areas. Nearly 47,090 homeless families from the state’s socio-economic survey 2023 and 6,99,439 families on the permanent waiting list for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Gramin would get benefits under it.

Gandhi claimed that the Central government has failed to provide funds under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana despite repeated reminders from the state, according to The Indian Express. Despite this, he said, the Congress government in Chhattisgarh had kept the three big promises that it had made.

“In the next five years, the state government will give another Rs 9,500 crore in your account using our remote control,” he said. “We promised a loan waiver for farmers, the halving of electricity bills, and Rs 2,500 per quintal on paddy. We fulfilled the promises soon after coming to power.”

He stated that under the Kisan Nyay Yojna, Congress has given Rs 21,000 crore to farmers as input subsidy while the landless farmers got Rs 7,000 per year. “Tribals got minimum support price (MSP) on forest produce and the best implementation of Forest Rights Act in India is done in Chhattisgarh,” he said.

Several Opposition parties, including the Congress and the Janata Dal (United) have been demanding a caste census.

In 2011, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre had conducted a socio-economic and caste census. But the data from that exercise was never released citing errors in enumeration.

The last exercise to count the population of all caste groups was conducted in India in 1931. In independent India, census reports have published data noting the population of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes but not other caste groups.