Caste census data could help us take superior affirmative action
Fewer job avenues mean reservation demands will rise and policy responses require reliable data
Earlier this week, an all-party delegation from Bihar met the Prime Minister to demand the inclusion of a caste headcount in India’s decennial population census. Information on Schedule Castes (SC) and Schedule Tribes (ST), along with sub-castes and tribes, has been part of our census since 1951. The demand is to extend it to every person, irrespective of religion and social group. This demand is not new. In fact, it was accepted by the Centre in May 2011; however, since the 2011 census was already over, the government included the caste question in its Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC).