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DEMAND FOR CASTE CENSUS

SYLLABUS : GENERAL STUDIES MAINS PAPER 2

Recently, in a parliament session, there was a demand to raise the 50% cap on reservation by supreme court through the legislative route. With the 2021 census, many political parties have demanded a nationwide caste census.

WHAT IS CASTE CENSUS

It is the inclusion of caste-wise tabulation of India`s population in the Census exercise.

ABOUT CASTE CENSUS

1. Caste is one of the formidable cultural foundation of Indian society which determines the social status and limits of the social relations of an individual.

2. Till 1930, caste census data was published and conducted by British.

3. In 1941, caste based data was collected but not published.

4. In Independent India from 1951 to 2011, India publishes separate data on Scheduled Caste [SC ] and Scheduled Tribes [ST]. The census does not include data on other castes.

5. Due to absence of such census, there is no proper estimate for the population of Other Backward Classes and others.

NEED FOR CASTE CENSUS

1. It provides a concrete source of information on social as well as economic discrimination in society.

2. It is necessary for any democratic policymaking.

3. It would help in rationalise the reservation policies.

4. It would help government in identifying the beneficiaries for socio economic targeted welfare schemes in the country.

5. It would help in finding the gap between economic and social capital holdings within and between reserved sections and general category.

OBC CENSUS

The question arises if every census in India has published the population of SC and ST, including Dalits and the Adivasis and also there is a data regarding religions, socio-economic status, languages etc, why not count Other Backward Classes too.

The Mandal Commission estimated the share of OBCs in India`s population to be 52%. So their inclusion in the census become important for many welfare schemes , reservation in government jobs , education and other programmes.

OBCs RIGHTS

Rohini commission: It proposed to divide the total 2,633 OBC castes in the central list in to four sub categories. The categories numbered 1,2,3 and 4 are proposed to split 27% of the OBC quota reservation into 2,6,9 and 10 percent respectively.

127 Amendment Bill, 2021: It override the supreme court interpretation of 102 constitution amendment .

The bill amends to restore the power of the state government in order to maintain the state list of OBCs.

In the Maratha case, supreme court judgment wind up or concluded that 102nd constitution amendment curtailed the state government`s power to recognise backward classes.

CONCERNS/CHALLENGES

1. 50% limit on caste-based quotas[ Indra Sawhney Judgement] propounded by the judiciary, imposes a serious limitation on states power to expand the composition of backward classes beneficiaries. In most states, the existing quotas for SC, ST , OBS and SBC already breach this benchmark.

2. The erosion of public sector has resulted in a steady decrease in the jobs occupied by Dalits. It impacted the reservation framework. For instance, the reduction in employment of SCs amounted to 33,000 jobs, due to fall in employment of 2.2 lakh jobs in central public enterprises between 2011-12 and 2017-18.

3. Collection of data is not easy, itself is a big problem. Sometimes the data has been collected but has not been made public.

4. Caste based census will give rise to caste division.

CONCLUSION

The government must go beyond caste and work for the upliftment of illiterate, marginalised and poor section of population and the government should give more importance to economic division, education health etc.

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