Home » Blog » Andhra Pradesh Launches Caste Census

Andhra Pradesh Launches Caste Census

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • Andhra Pradesh recently initiated a caste census, following in the footsteps of Bihar, to comprehensively enumerate all communities in the state.
  • The method involves deploying the village secretariat system and volunteers for data collection.
Historical Context

·       Caste-wise enumeration was first introduced by the British colonial administration in 1881 and continued until the 1931 census.

·       Independent India abandoned caste enumerations, citing concerns about potential social division and strengthening caste hierarchies.

·       Subsequently, census data from 1951 to 2011 focused on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes only.

Arguments for a Caste Census

  • Effective Governance: A caste census provides a comprehensive picture of India’s caste composition, aiding in effective governance by including marginalized communities and sub-castes.
  • Tracking Progress: The absence of official data hinders tracking progress in affirmative action, addressing caste-based discrimination, and allocating resources effectively.
  • Certainty in Policy Making: Lack of clarity on the progress of various caste groups impedes effective policy formulations.
  • Social Justice: A caste census enables better targeting of affirmative action programs, addressing persistent discrimination and extending welfare schemes to overlooked castes.
  • Resource Allocation: It facilitates equitable distribution of resources based on the needs of different caste groups.
  • Social Reforms: Data-driven evidence supports social reform initiatives aimed at addressing caste-based disparities.

Arguments Against a Caste Census

  • Social Division: Critics argue that a caste census could solidify caste identities, exacerbate tensions, and lead to renewed claims of dominance and hierarchy.
  • Unconstitutional: Some argue that states conducting a caste census violate constitutional provisions, as the Union Government has the sole right to conduct a census.
  • Data Misuse: Concerns exist about potential misuse of caste census data for political gains or discrimination against certain caste groups.
  • New Issues: The survey data may reignite debates over the 50% ceiling on reservations imposed by the Supreme Court.
  • Logistical Challenges: Conducting a nationwide caste census is a complex and expensive undertaking, requiring careful planning and implementation.
  • Alternative Data Sources: Some argue that existing databases and surveys can provide sufficient data on caste and socioeconomic conditions.
Related Supreme Court Rulings

·       Indra Sawhney v Union of India, 1992: Emphasized the need for a “reasonable and adequate” data-driven approach to identify backward classes.

·       Janhit Manch vs. Union of India, 2020: The court ruled that the government is not obligated to conduct a caste census at present, relying on existing data.

·       Bihar Caste Census Case 2023: The Supreme Court is currently hearing challenges to the validity of Bihar’s 2023 caste census.

Way Forward

  • Caste data is crucial for understanding the labour market, wealth inequality, and policy scheme implementation.
  • Rather than politicizing the caste census, every political party should embrace the idea to ensure the welfare of the most marginalized sections of the citizens.

Signup for newsletter

Receive notifications straight into your inbox

Leave a comment

Item added to cart.
0 items - 0.00

Discover more from AMIGOS IAS

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading