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Independent India’s first caste census kicks-off


Hezamara (Tripura) : Independent India’s first census to determine the caste-wise breakup of the country’s 1.21 billion people was launched here Wednesday.

It was launched in this remote tribal dominated village, 45 km north of Tripura capital Agartala.

“In the general census 2011 (Feb 9-28), people belonging to the scheduled tribes and scheduled castes have been counted. In the caste census, there would be four categories — scheduled tribe, scheduled caste, others and no caste,” Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India C. Chandramauli told IANS.

“The caste census would be completed by December,” he said.

The caste census would be conducted simultaneously with the socio-economic survey to determine the number of people living below poverty line (BPL).

“The caste survey would be conducted by the union rural and urban development ministries in association with the state governments across the country. Each state has to complete the caste census in a period of 40 days,” Chandramauli said.

The census directorate in each state would monitor and train the enumerators of the census, he added.

“Only the verbal claim of the person concerned would be recorded by the enumerators. No document or certificate is required for submission,” the official said.

“After the completion of caste census, the rural and urban development ministries would provide the data to the census authority for processing,” he said.

“An expert group that would be constituted after the enumeration would then analyse and classify the data accordingly. It would also categorise the caste of a particular person,” he said.

“After processing and categorisation of caste by the expert group the result would be declared in consultation with the government,” Chandramauli stated.

Chandramauli said that it would take one and a half year to declare the caste and religion wise population counted during the general census conducted in February.

Most regional and national political parties had been vociferously demanding a caste census saying that it would help the centre and state governments in developing welfare schemes targeting specific groups.

The government last month gave the go-ahead for the caste census.

The last such caste census exercise was done in pre-independent India in 1931.

In the 1980’s, an unofficial anthropological survey found that there are more than 30,000 castes and sub-castes in India, Chandramauli said.