Noting that caste is a reality in India, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh Thursday supported a caste-based census, the demand for which has been made by the opposition in parliament, with some members from the treasury benches also supporting this.
At the same time, he said there should be a debate on whether there can be a census on the basis of economic status.
"There should be a debate on the issue among the people, including the political class," Digvijay Singh told IANS.
He said it was time to focus on who was a part of the reservation system as some castes are termed scheduled castes in some states but not in others.
"Nishad is a scheduled caste in Delhi, but not in Noida. Dhobis are scheduled castes in some states and not in the other," he added.
"Now is the time to look into the problem and take a bold stand on the issue," he said while speaking at a function to release the book "Caste-Census: Towards an Inclusive India".
The former Madhya Pradesh chief minister said: "If caste is the basis to give reservations, then why should there not be a census (on this basis)? It is a reality which we can't wish away. It has been accepted by all the political parties and by the constitution."
He said the caste-based census of 1931 can't now be the basis to calculate the population of a particular caste as the enumeration in that year did not cover the princely states.