Last conducted in 1931; fresh survey pending since 2004-05

The government will conduct a caste-wise survey in the State to obtain authentic data on social and economic conditions of the households of all castes, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told the Legislative Assembly on Friday.

The caste-wise survey was last conducted by the British in 1931 and many changes have taken place since then, he said, during the debate on the State budget.

Useful data

The survey will help the government gain authentic data on living conditions and poverty levels of all castes.

This information would also help during hearings of arguments, when the courts seek data of various castes and their socio-economic conditions, he said.

The survey, according to Mr. Siddaramaiah, will help understand the living conditions of all sections of people. A decision to take up the caste-wise survey was taken up in 2004-05 when he was the Deputy Chief Minister.

Once the survey is completed, Karnataka would become the first State to have such a survey report of all castes after Independence.

In 2004-05, the Union government sanctioned Rs. 21 crore for undertaking the survey and released Rs. 7 crore.

Some of the funds were used by the Karnataka State Backward Classes Commission to conduct sample survey of families. However, the project took a backseat following change of governments.

Successive governments did not show interest in taking up the survey, Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

The survey will cover all castes, including the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Though there was a debate on the survey of castes during the Mandal Commission agitation, no action was taken on the issue.

Status

Earlier, Shivananda Patil of the Congress and Y.S.V. Datta of the Janata Dal (Secular) urged the Chief Minister to conduct a caste-wise survey to obtain information on social, economic and educational status of various castes in the State. Mr. Siddaramaiah said: “So far we have only talked about it. There is no authentic data on the socio-economic position of various backward castes,” he said.

Mr. Datta said the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda had demanded a survey on castes when he was leader of the Opposition in the Assembly in 1974.

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