Caste Census

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 12, 2022, 13:34

Caste Census is the caste-wise breakup of the Indian population that would include not only the scheduled castes (SC) or scheduled tribes (ST) but the other castes as well in number and percentage terms.

The last census was performed by the British in the year 1931. While we do have data on SC or ST as a percentage of the population, there is no data regarding the other castes in India. The British stopped this practice in 1941, and the Indian Government did not continue it thereafter.

Caste Census Need

Ninety years after the first census in 1931, there is a demand from the present Government allies for a Caste Census. An 11-member delegation has requested our Prime Minister to make census counting mandatory in 2022. The Government of India is not in favor of a census-based on caste.

There was a demand for such a census in 2010 when Mr Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister. There were inaccuracies in 25% of the data, and the final data had the total number of castes, not the population-wise breakup required.

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There is a certain percentage of the population who believe that a Caste Census will create a bigger divide between the general population and the backward castes, while those in favour of this scheme feel that it will help the Government focus more efficiently on pro-poor schemes. It will be easier to formulate a reservation policy with this census. At present, you can only get data for the SC/ST population. The OBC population is estimated to be 52%.

Caste Census History

The Caste Census was conducted in 2011 after the approval of the Manmohan Singh Government. This was a paperless census, and the first time it was carried out using hand-held devices. All states and union territories were included in this census. The rural development ministry decided to use this data for all the government schemes like National Food Security Act, MNREGA, and more.

The Sankhola Village (Hazemara block) in West Tripura District was the location where the Caste Census was launched on 29th June 2011.

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Components of the Socio-Economic and Caste Census

There are three components of the Caste Census, and there were three separate authorities that managed these components:

  • Rural Area Census: Conducting authority was the Department of Rural Development.
  • Urban Area Census: Conducted under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation
  • Caste Census: Conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India were in charge.

The overall coordinating authority was the Department of Rural Development.

Outcome of the Caste Census

The results of the Caste Census 2011 were published in July 2014. A total of 46,73,034 castes and sub-castes were discovered. However, there are still 1,45,77,195 errors yet to be rectified.

Some of the highlights of this census are as follows:

  • A total of 17.97 crore households out of a total of 24.49 crore households live are from rural areas.
  • 21.53% of families in rural areas are in the SC/ST categories.
  • This census does not include people belonging to the military and para-military professions.

The Caste Census was organized in 2011 to find out the detailed breakup of the OBC categories in India. Unfortunately, the results were not accurate.

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FAQs on Caste Census

Q.1. When was the Caste Census first carried out?

The Caste Census was first carried out in 1931.

Q.2. Why was the Caste Census carried out?

The Caste Census was carried out since data was required for OBCs other than SC/ST.

Q.3. Where was the Caste Census carried out in 2011?

The Caste Census was carried out in the Sankhola Village (Hazemara block) in West Tripura District.

Q.4. What was the problem with the Caste Census of 2011?

The Caste Census of 2011 had 1,45,77,195 errors that needed rectification.

Q.5. What was the principal coordinating authority for the Caste Census?

The principal coordinating authority for the Caste Census was the Department of Rural Development.