Govt report paints grim picture of rural India
Socio Economic & Caste Census 2011

Govt report paints grim picture of rural India

First such exercise in 8 decades to help govt improve social schemes04 Jul 2015 | 1:37 AM

NEW DELHI: The government today released the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 for Rural India, the first such data since 1932, which paints a grim picture of the rural India.

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Sanjeev Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 3

The government today released the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 for Rural India, the first such data since 1932, which paints a grim picture of the rural India. The census points towards lopsided development with 75 per cent households having monthly income less than Rs 5,000 while 68 per cent owning a mobile phone.

The government did not put out data on the caste lines — it being a politically sensitive subject — and used economic criteria instead to map the picture in rural India.

The SECC 2011, which was carried out in 640 districts, was released jointly by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birendra Singh today.

The SECC 2011, a paperless exercise, was done using over 6.4 lakh electronic handheld device. It provides useful data on households, reflecting various aspects of their socio-economic status — housing, landholding/landlessness, educational status, status of women, differently abled, occupation, possession of assets, SC/ST households, incomes, among others. The government said the data was crucial since it would help in evidence-based planning for rural development and poverty reduction. The census suggests Punjab has the highest percentage of SC households in the country at 36.74 per cent. The census brings out a rather woeful picture of the rural India. Incomes are low, lack of employment opportunities with manual casual labour being the main activity, a majority of the population is landless, dwelling units are not adequate and education levels are low. In terms of ownership of assets, as many as 94 per cent households own a house. This includes one-room kuccha houses. The penetration of amenities is still quite low with only 20 per cent of households owning a vehicle (2/3/4 wheeler), while only 11 per cent own a refrigerator.

The deprivation data in rural India’s 17.91 crore households is alarming. Data suggests more than 13 per cent have only one room with kuccha roof and one-third of them are landless households deriving their income from manual labour. Education levels are low as one in four households does not have a literate adult above the age of 25 years.

Cultivation and manual labour are the main sources of income for the rural population. While 30% draw their income from cultivation, over 51% are manual casual labourers.

Only 4.6% of all rural households in the country pay income tax, while such households with salaried income are close to 10%. The Finance Minister said: “It’s after seven-eight decades that we have this document after 1932 of the caste census. It’s going to be a very important document for all policymakers both at the Centre and in states.”

Will help policy makers

"It is after seven-eight decades that we have this document... It is going to be a very important document for all policymakers both in Central and state governments... This document will help us target groups for support in terms of policy planning." Arun Jaitley, FM

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