There is no plan to collect caste data in the next census, other than those on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the home ministry said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
Political parties, including BJP allies, have been demanding collection of caste data for empirical evidence on the total population of Other Backward Communities. The quantum of reservations for OBCs has been a political issue brought to the notice of courts too. The Supreme Court had on Wednesday struck down the 27% OBC reservation in local body seats to Maharashtra, citing lack of empirical evidence on OBCs.
“The Government of India has not enumerated caste-wise populations other than Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in census since Independence,” minister of state for home Nityanand Rai said in his written reply. The Centre was aware that a resolution to conduct a caste-based census has been passed by the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly, the minister said.
“National Sample Survey is not specifically designed to estimate population of country as well as that of any social group. The information on household social groups is collected in household-based survey of NSS for categorisation purposes only,” the minister said. Population census is not an ideal instrument for caste-wise/other Backward Class enumeration of the population, he said.
The census schedule is designed in consultation with various stakeholders, including central ministries.