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Caste Enumeration in Census

There is a belief that including caste data in census enumeration will perpetuate the caste system and deepen social divisions. In fact, not including caste data would perpetuate the injustice of the caste system because lack of data will render inefficient policy measure meant to help the weak.

The last five decennial censuses have eschewed enumeration of caste particulars. The three national commissions and scores of state commissions for backward classes (BC) have found these census data useless in identification of BC. Every time census is taken, this vital data is suppressed rendering the decennial census useless to the welfare of 70 to 80 per cent of the population of BC. This necessitates a review of the practice of excluding caste details in the census.

The word caste could be used in a concrete or in an abstract sense. In the concrete sense, ‘caste’ means a group of persons or families. In the abstract sense, caste means status or position with occupation [Havanur 1975]. For census enumeration, caste in the concrete sense is relevant.

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