A caste census will serve no clear worthy purpose

Source: LiveMint

Relevance: Understand the challenges with the caste census in India.

Synopsis: There are proposals to revive the caste-based census in the National Census of 2021. But introducing them is not easy, and the caste census has certain challenges.


With census fast approaching, some sections argue the need to include caste in the Census questionnaire. While there are merits to this argument, the state should be extremely cautious of this move.

Why do certain sections favour such a move?
  • It will help identify inequities suffered by backward classes.
  • It will help in better targeting of Government welfare schemes.
  • Since job and education quotas are based on caste, this will help in evidence-based policymaking. The current policies are based on the last caste census, which was conducted in 1931.
  • SECC which was conducted to overcome this did not release its findings.
What are the challenges surrounding this move?
  • Such a move requires detailed deliberation, for which the time is less.
  • Any such last-minute move to change the questionnaire could delay the census.
  • As India seek to eliminate and weaken the notion of caste, such a caste-based census would only strengthen it.
Way forward

The state should not enumerate citizens based on caste until it is badly needed. The state should focus on Governance and implementation for better outcomes of schemes.

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