Indian Census and Caste Statistics

I find it weird that no Census in independent India has ever collected any statistics about castes (scheduled castes and tribes aside). Given that so many of our policies and so much of our national resource allocation depends on caste, why does our Government shy away from collecting that data?

The original decision to not collect such data was, I think, to de-emphasize caste distinctions. While the intent might have been good, in reality much of our politics and national discourse is caste based and there are many benefits of accurate data regarding castes.

In fact the Mandal commission estimated the percentage of OBCs to be 52%. A much later survey conducted by the NSS (National Sample Survey) estimated the number to be 36%. Who is right? The cynic in me says the politicians want the public to remain in the dark since caste is one of the main tools they use to rule our country!

When this question about collecting caste data was put to C. Chandramoulli, the Census Commissioner, his reply was:

In Independent India, there has never been a Census where details related to castes were given. We don’t have that mandate from the government. There is no change in policy. We will only come out with total scheduled caste and scheduled tribe population in various areas. Details about caste will not be spelt out.

So we shall continue to live in ignorance!

One thought on “Indian Census and Caste Statistics

  1. Although the so called caste system is bad, see today what is happening. Every politician instead is using it to their advantage. Because they know that by creating confusion and doubt in the minds of the people they can extract maximum out of the chaos. And indian politician or so called leaders live by spreading hatred among different communities, language groups,etc. The reservation is the most bad thing in the world, because it is based on the principle that it will achieve equality which is not true. Those who are rich in any community dont help poor. Who fool told that if some percentage of some community enjoy some thing, the rest should face the brunt of it. If 3-5% of so called upper or even lower caste people are rich will they help the rest in their own community? If someone in some community in the past or present commite a sin or crime should the whole community be punished? Indians think…Otherwise india will become another soviet union. Be ready.

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