States not uniformly prepared for the exercise of identifying BPL households

The socio-economic caste census (SECC) undertaken by the government in 2011 to gather information on the condition of people across the country is still far from complete. It is aimed at identifying BPL (below the poverty line) households that can benefit from the Centre’s welfare schemes.

The survey is being carried out by trained enumerators, who are mostly members of panchayats or village-level MGNREGS secretaries.

“The SECC could not be completed as targeted due to various factors. The state of preparedness of all States is not similar,” said a Rural Development Ministry official.

The SECC has seven deprivation indicators to rank households on a scale of 0 to 7. Households with the highest deprivation score will have the highest priority for inclusion in the BPL list. Additionally, households without shelter, the destitute, manual scavengers, primitive tribal groups and legally released bonded labourers will have the ‘highest priority’ for inclusion.

One of the main reasons for the delay in the exercise is that Assembly and local bodies elections intervened in some States. Besides, enumeration work took more time to complete than anticipated, the official said.

More specifically, the procedure of a Verification and Correction module, incorporated into the process to improve the ‘robustness’ of data, is also likely to have resulted in a time over-run.

The management information system for the census will be developed by the National Informatics Centre.

The SECC database will provide policymakers authentic information on caste-wise population break-up in the country. Based on that, the government can evaluate the performance of its past schemes and update them accordingly.

So far, Haryana Nagaland, Daman & Diu have published the draft list.