Caste data won't be out any time soon, here's why

Dismissing suggestions that caste census report was not released to "hide truth", government on Tuesday said more than 8.19 crore errors were detected in the data of which 1.45 crore faults continue to exist.

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 28, 2015, 20:51 PM IST
Caste data won't be out any time soon, here's why

New Delhi: Dismissing suggestions that caste census report was not released to "hide truth", government on Tuesday said more than 8.19 crore errors were detected in the data of which 1.45 crore faults continue to exist.

A total of 8,19,58,314 errors have been found in caste particulars and all states and union territories have been communicated for rectification.

The states have rectified 6,73,81,119 errors. However, 1,45,77,195 errors are yet to be rectified, a Home Ministry statement said today.

Maharashtra with 69.1 lakh errors in the census data tops the list of states where the faults were detected.

Currently, there are 13.9 lakh errors in census data in Madhya Pradesh, 11.6 lakh errors in West Bengal, 7.2 lakhs in Rajasthan, 5.4 lakhs in Uttar Pradesh, 2.9 lakhs in Karnataka, 1.7 lakhs in Bihar, 1.4 lakhs in Tamil Nadu which are yet to be rectified.

On July 3, the government refrained from releasing the caste-based data in its first Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) released in eight decades.

Union Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh had said brushed aside suggestions that government avoided giving the caste count in the survey report due to political reasons ahead of Bihar polls. "There is no such thing. Connecting it with elections is not good," he had said.

However, opposition parties alleged that government was "hiding the truth from the country" by not releasing the data of SC, STs, Backward Class, Minority and Upper Class in the country so as to "minimise the quota for reserved classes cleverly in future".

The Home Ministry statement today said the government has reviewed the status of the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) on July 16 and it emerged that 46,73,034 distinct caste names have been returned in the SECC.

"These include caste/sub-caste names, synonyms, surnames, clan/gothra names, phonetic variations, sections, sub-groups etc. These will have to be classified by experts having domain knowledge on these issues," it said.

Further, the government noted that the field work of collection of data has been completed and that the data relating to socio-economic features of households in rural areas was released by the Ministry of Rural Development on July 3. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, however, did not released any data relating to urban areas.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced formation of an expert group to classify and categorise the caste returns under the chairmanship of Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairperson, NITI AAYOG.

The members of the expert group would be finalised by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in consultation with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. Further, the expert group will be serviced by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

"The government is fully committed to completing the SECC and requests the state/UT governments for its fullest cooperation to complete the rectification of errors. In the meanwhile, the classification of the available caste/tribe data will be taken up by the expert group," the statement said.

The Home Ministry had sought the approval of the Union Cabinet on May 9, 2011 for collecting the Caste Data along with the SECC. The then UPA government decided on May 19, 2011 that the data collection under SECC would be done by the state governments with the financial and technical support of the Government of India.

The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA) were designated as the nodal Ministries in the Government of India. The Office of the Registrar General, India (RGI) was directed to provide the technical and logistical support.

Further, it was decided that after completing the field data collection, the data relating to caste/ tribes would be handed over by the RGI to an expert group to be constituted by the Government at an appropriate time for classification. Accordingly, as the field work is now substantially completed, the present Government has decided that it is now appropriate to constitute the expert group, the statement said.