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Hometamil-naduIntegrate caste census with decadal census: Stalin to PM Modi

Integrate caste census with decadal census: Stalin to PM Modi

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding that the Union government integrate caste census with the upcoming national decadal census, by contending that the initiative will serve as a “monumental step” in taking the benefits of development to the most vulnerable sections of the country.

The letter comes amid a massive push by I.N.D.I.A. alliance parties, especially the Congress, for conducting a nation-wide caste census after the JD(U)-RJD government in Bihar released the data of the exercise. The ruling DMK also came under pressure from its allies and opposition parties in Tamil Nadu to conduct a caste census to ensure that every section of the society receives “social justice”.

“India’s demographic and socio-economic landscape has undergone many changes since the last caste census was conducted in 1931 and delaying conduct of the exercise will only perpetuate inequity,” Stalin said, while pushing for making public the factual data as caste has historically been a key determinant of the prospects of social progress in the Indian society.

“Only this can empower various stakeholders and policymakers to analyse the impact of our past programs and plan the strategies for the future. However, no contemporary data is available since the last caste census was conducted in India only in 1931,” Stalin said in his letter.

Considering the fact that the previous census due in 2021 could not be conducted and the crucial caste-related data outcomes would touch the lives of crores of deserving people in our country, it should not be delayed any further, Stalin said.

“…the underprivileged sections of our society continue to remain backward, in spite of numerous past policy actions. Hence, it is vital that contemporary data derived from a common standard process at the national level is cumulated to address all the pressing issues related to social justice, equity and inclusivity,” he said.

Lauding Bihar for making a “good attempt” by successfully conducting a caste-based survey, Stalin said state surveys lack the advantage of a nationwide comparability of inputs and processes.

“In addition, they lack the statutory stamp without a legislative backing for such data collection since census as a subject is in Union list. Hence, we are of the considered view that only a statutory census of India, with critical caste-related data inputs, would be able to provide an appropriate platform for upholding social justice,” he added in the letter.

He demanded integration of the caste census with the proposed national decadal census alone as “only it can provide comprehensive and reliable” data on the caste composition of the society and its reflection on the socio-economic indicators.

“This will enable evidence-based policymaking, helping all of us to ensure an equitable and inclusive development. Undertaking this task concurrently with the decadal census would not only ensure comparability of data across the nation but also optimise resource utilisation,” Stalin added.

(Published 21 October 2023, 09:14 IST)

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