Expert panel gives thumbs up for caste based census

These were some of the issues discussed at the national conference on caste census held at National Law School of India University, Bangalore.  Many experts pointed out that caste census provides essential information about the socio-economic conditions of different castes and helps devise social policies on the basis of sound data. Ever since 1931, there is no such data available to the policy makers, they noted.

Comprehensive baseline data on all castes will allow the government to evaluate new claims of backwardness  by communities. The census data on cast will enable periodic revision of the backward class lists so as to include those castes which deserve to be included and exclude those who have ceased to be backward. 

The panel of experts also pointed out that the Unique Identification Authority of India should not be asked to collect caste data for two reasons. One, the UID would collect only the names of castes, and not data on their socio economic profile. This is not helpful from the perspective of social policy, which requires  clear evidence about the socio-economic statuses of castes. Second, the UID does not have the organisational experience or competence as the Census organisation to authenticate information on caste.
The panel of experts also discussed concerns like forward castes claiming backward status, inflation of the backward castes and caste consciousness as misplaced concerns.
DH News Service

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