Caste-wise data on population, other than those for Dalits and Scheduled Tribes, won’t be included in the upcoming national Census, the Ministry of Home Affairs said today. The decision has been taken as a matter of policy, the government informed the Lok Sabha.
The ministry also said that some state governments had earlier requested the collection of caste data.
“The state governments of Maharashtra and Odisha have requested to collect caste details in the forthcoming census. The government of India has decided as a matter of policy not to enumerate caste-wise population other than SCs and STs in Census,” Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai stated in a written reply.
The Constitution provides for reservation of seats for members of Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the Lok Sabha and in the various assemblies in proportion, as nearly as may be, to their population, the Minister said. In the Census, those specifically notified as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are enumerated, he said.
The Ministry had earlier informed that a Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) was carried out in 2011 by the Ministry of Rural Development in rural areas and the then Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) in urban. The government later reportedly decided not to update the SECC as the Centre remained uninterested in maintaining caste data in the registry.
Replying to another question, Minister Rai said the government’s intent to conduct Census 2021 has been notified in the Gazette of India on March 28, 2019, but due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the activities were postponed.