Socio-economic census 2011 reveals 46 lakh castes, sub-castes

Socio-economic census 2011 reveals 46 lakh castes, sub-castes

India has a whopping 46 lakh categories of caste and sub-castes, and different caste and clan surnames, the socio-economic-caste (SEC) census 2011 has revealed.

Speaking to the media after Thursday’s Cabinet meeting, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley cited an example of the Jat community which uses different titles. He said the surnames and clan names have to be consolidated by the states to arrive at the specific number of castes.
The Cabinet has decided to set up an expert committee under NITI Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya to expedite the work on caste census.

Amid the raising demand for release of caste census, the Centre on Thursday put the onus on states and asked them to do their homework first on consolidation of various categories in absence of which the Centre cannot compile the final report.

“The caste census conducted by the Registrar General of India has come out with 46 lakh categories of caste, sub-castes, different surnames in the caste and clan names, which have been sent to the states eight to nine months back for clubbing them to consolidate the caste count,” said Jaitley.

The government is keen on releasing the caste data at the earliest. But the committee headed by Panagariya will only be able to consolidate the data once the states send their details, the minister said.

“Most of the states have not come out with their response so far,” he said. To a question on the status of caste data from Bihar, he said, “negligible”.

Jaitley denied allegations that the government was silent on the caste count in the recently released SEC census fearing a backlash from the backward castes ahead of the 2015 Bihar polls.

Instead, Jaitley said it would be good if states which are politicising the issue sent their recommendations on caste consolidation at the earliest.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad is the most vociferous among those demanding the caste-based data. He is planning to go on a day-long fast on July 26 and has called for Bihar bandh the next day. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, too, has made a similar demand.

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