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25th June - The Hindu Editorial - Part-3 (in Hindi)
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Subhodeep Das
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  1. e tools for counting The tools for counting A new vunerability sutchy da It's time to debate the modalities of the next Census, given the earlier confusion over caste data. It also seems likely that once again we will be unprepared for a full caste census 2021. S. UBHODEEP

  2. As the 2011 Census approached, demands for inclusion of data on caste in Census reached a crescendo. P. Chidambaram, the Union Home Minister at the time, was opposed to collecting caste data and blocked it by claiming that it was logistically impossible for the Census, but caste information could be collected via the planned Below Poverty Line (BPL) Census, later renamed the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) Hasty inclusion of the caste question in the SECC has resulted in largely unusable data.. UBHODEEP


  4. ...The government tasked former NITI Aayog chairman Arvind Panagariya to look into this, but the effort has stalled. If we really want to collect data on caste in India and not let the discourse about Indian society be shaped by the political exigencies of colonial India, the time to plan is now. UBHODEEP

  5. Colonial Censuses, beginning with the first Census in 1871 included questions about caste and used these data to divide and conquer India by first p Brahmins as interpreters of Indian culture and then targeting them as the roots of caste-based oppression and inequality Generated a conception of community as a homogeneous and classifiable community and thereby influenced the processes of political representation UBHODEEP

  6. Challenge for modern India Whether caste-based political mobilisation and strong sentiments for or against reservations would disappear just because we choose not to collect statistics about caste. Patels, Gujjars, Jats and Marathas do not seem to care about the lack of Census data as they demand reservations Nor has the caste cauldron of Karnataka elections calmed because we can only roughly estimate the size of the Lingayat communities UBHODEEP

  7. Without accurate data at a granular level for each of these categories consisting of thousands of jatis (castes) and upiatis (subcastes), we have no way of knowing whether this is correct Assumptions - broad caste-based social categories - Dalits, Adivasis, Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and upper castes - Vague. Indian society has undergone a tremendous transformation since 1931 Land fragmentation Upper caste landowners into marginal farmers rising rural vw UBHODEEP

  8. India Human Development Survey 56% of Dalit children ages 8-11 cannot read but neither can 32% of forward caste and 47% of OBC children. strong affirmation action undertaken by successive governments of the independent nation Some jatis may have managed to pull themselves out poverty and marginalisation, while others may have sunk into it. Hence, it is time to collect data that reflects the current situation. UBHODEEP

  9. Collection of caste data is not easy The SECC asked interviewers to write down the name of the caste exactly as articulated by the respondent. By some reports, it has revealed as many as 46 lakh castes. Sometimes the same caste is spelt in different ways, Some individuals report their jati and others upjati making it difficult to create mutually exclusive categories One cannot help but sympathise with the Ministry of Rural Development and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation which were asked to tack on a question about caste at the eleventh hour in the SECC without any preparation UBHODEEP

  10. Need However, we have nearly three years before the Census of 2021 Fortunate to have data from the SECC and Technologies rooted in machine learning at our disposal. -Set up an expert group that uses the SECC data in conjunction with other data sources such as matrimonial advertisements and State- specific Scheduled Castes/OBC lists to make a comprehensive list of castes and condense them into meaningful categories via machine learning tools. .validated by domain experts from the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) institutions in various States to come up with a district specific list of castes UBHODEEP

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