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Cabinet nod to caste count in census
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 9
Bowing to demands by several political parties, the Union Cabinet today gave its approval for a caste-based census to be implemented through a separate house-to-house enumeration from June to September next year.

Caste FACtOR

z House-to-house caste enumeration from June to September 2011 after the census is completed in February.
z Caste census form will enlist the name, age and other personal details of the respondent, besides the caste. 
z Caste will be entered purely as per the claims of the respondents, and no verification will be done by the enumerator. The data will then be tabulated to arrive at the caste composition of the country

It would be a process separate from Census 2011. “After considering various options based on the response of political parties, the Cabinet decided that a separate house-to-house enumeration of caste will be done from June to September 2011,” Home Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters here. The Cabinet meeting was presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

According to reports, the proposal to include caste in the next census exercise was cleared by a voice vote at the cabinet meeting. The government has also reportedly earmarked Rs 2,000 to 3,000 crore for the census.

During the door-to-door census, enumerators would only ask respondents their caste and this exercise is likely to cost the exchequer about Rs 2,000 crore. This will be in addition to the Rs 2,200 crore to be spent on the decadal, and more comprehensive, headcount. This would also mean that there could be two population figures.

One would be thrown up by the decadal headcount and another generated when the caste count is held. A Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee deliberated on the matter in three meetings and gave its recommendations last month favouring caste enumeration.

Chidambaram said it had been decided to go for a separate enumeration of caste based on the response of political parties that caste should be canvassed but the integrity of the headcount in Census 2011 should be protected. The minister said a suitable legal system for collection of data on caste would be formulated in consultation with the Law Ministry.

The government will constitute an expert group to classify the caste/tribe census after the present enumeration is completed. He said the Registrar General and Census Commissioner's office will hand over the details of the castes/tribes to the proposed expert group. There has not been any caste-wise enumeration after Independence.

The last caste-wise collection of data took place in the 1931 census. 





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