States not keen on caste census project

Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have evinced interest in the project

States not keen on caste census project

Massive task ahead: Mahesh Shah  and his family members  look on  while census worker Rumima Das, collects the information on the first day of the national census at Ramsingh Chapori village, east of Guwahati on Thursday. India kicked off the national census of its billion-plus population on Thursday.  AP

It was in February 2005 that the Centre asked Karnataka government to conduct the “socio-educational survey” in the state and released Rs 21.5 crore for the model survey. The Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes was asked to undertake the work.

Five years later, precious little has been achieved and the project now faces the prospect of getting taken over by other states. Top sources in the Union government, declining to the identified, told Deccan Herald here on Wednesday: “The Karnataka government has not done much to get the work on the pilot project started. The commission has not been given proper infrastructure support. The Centre cannot wait indefinitely for the work to be done. Effort has been made towards awareness regarding the survey but the state government has not helped in starting the work on ground.”

Already, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are understood to have evinced interest in conducting the survey if Karnataka was not willing.Asked about the intrastructural bottlenecks as raised by the Centre, Commission chairman C S Dwarakanath admitted that his team has been handicapped by lack of key posts.

“If we are to conduct the survey, the task is mammoth, for we have to interview 6.2 crore people, visit 1.2 households for which we need one lakh enumerators. But to undertake this, we are facing paucity of manpower at the Commission. There is no exclusive member-secretary for the last four months, no secretary of statistics for the last 10 months, 18 staff posts are vacant and there is no census-related work for nearly a year.”
98 parameters

Asked why the caste census should be taken up separately and not with the general census work starting April 1, Dwaranath said while general census uses only three parameters, the socio-educational survey would use 98.

“Though the backward classes Commission has been given this task, we will not just limit the exercise to BCs but include all castes in it,” he added.Referring to the lack of interest shown by the state government, Dwarakanath said: “We require meetings with the chief secretary, principal secretaries to home, rural development, revenue, education and social welfare departments. But this has not happened.”

The commission has proposed to the Registrar General of Census that the caste census should start in April-May, 2011 once the general census work ends on March 5.
There has been no caste census in independent India. The last such census conducted was way back in 1931.  

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