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Involving Social Organization for Caste-based Census in Bihar

  • Published
    1st Jul, 2022
Context

Nine social organisations will carry out a campaign in Bihar to get the caste census done in a most “rational way” with population-wise representation and participation at all levels.

  • Recently, it was decided that the castes and sub-castes of all religions will be counted in Bihar.
About

The history of counting caste

  • The first census in India was held in 1872 by its then colonial rulers — the British.
    • One of the heads under which data was gathered was “caste” and this practice was continued till 1931.
  • However, in 1941, caste-based data was collected but not published.
  • After independence, India curtailed this exercise and from 1951, the only caste-wise data collected was on Dalits and Adivasis.

Caste Census

Caste census means inclusion of caste-wise tabulation of India’s population in the Census exercise, which is a decennial count of the Indian population.

What’s the problem?

  • The census has never counted OBC’s, the lower and intermediate castes, which according to the Mandal commission make up around 52 per cent of the country’s population.

Difference between caste-based census and SECC

Census

Caste Census

  • Provides a portrait of the Indian population
  • Since the Census falls under the Census Act of 1948, all data are considered confidential
  • Identification of caste or social groups
  • All the personal information given in the SECC is open for use
  • Benefit in Policy Making: A caste census, which will generate exhaustive data will allow policymakers to develop better policies, implementation strategies, and will also enable a more rational debate on sensitive issues.
  • Distinguish Creamy layer in several Castes: Caste is not only a source of disadvantage; it is also a very important source of privilege and advantage in our society.
  • To Address Prevalent Inequalities: Unequal distribution of wealth, resources and education has meant an acute shortage of purchasing power among the majority of Indians.
  • Reduce Inclusion and Exclusion Errors: With accurate data of castes, most backward castes can be identified.

Pros of caste census

 

Concerns associated

 

  • Caste data is vital as a factor in public policy.
  • The precise number of the population of each caste would help tailor the reservation policy to ensure equitable representation of all of them.

 

  • There is a possibility that it will lead to heartburn among some sections and spawn demands for larger or separate quotas.
  • It has been alleged that the mere act of labelling persons as belonging to a caste tends to perpetuate the system.
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