Caste Census - Registrar General of India

#GS2 #Governance #Census


  • The Union government had informed the Supreme Court that the data enumerated in the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) of 2011 was “unusable”. 
  • Contrary to that, the Registrar-General and Census Commissioner of India had informed the Standing Committee on Rural Development of Parliament in 2016 that 98.87% of the data on individual caste and religion was “error free”.

Need For Caste Census

  • Article 340 of the Indian constitution mentions the appointment of a commission to investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes and make recommendations as to the steps that should be taken by governments.
  • Easier policy making and targeting. With the help of this data, inclusion and exclusion errors can be minimized. Policy benefits can be given to people who really are in need of it.
  • Better identification of privileged and underprivileged section of society. 
  • In order to address inequalities in the society like unequal distribution of wealth, resources and education.

Arguments Against

  • According to the Union government, even when the census of castes were taken in the pre-Independence period, the data suffered in respect of completeness and accuracy. 
  • The government says that the caste data in the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) of 2011 is unusable for official purposes as they include technical flaws.
  • According to the Centre, a population census was not the best way to collect details on caste. The basic integrity of census data might get compromised. The fundamental population count may get “distorted”.
  • It is also too late to enumerate caste into the Census 2021 as the planning and preparations for the census exercise starts almost four years earlier. Plans regarding the phases of Census 2021 had been finalised after detailed deliberations with ministries, data users, recommendations from technical advisory committees, etc. 

Registrar General of India

  • Established in 1949 
  • Registrar General and ex-Officio Census Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs. 
  • Objective: To develop systematic collection of statistics on the population size, population growth, etc.
  • Deals with implementation of Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 in India.
  • Function: It conducts the demographic surveys of India like the Census of India and Linguistic Survey of India. It also arranges and analyses the results of these surveys. 


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