T. Ramakrishnan

To ensure caste-based enumeration

“No need to add anything new to questionnaire”

CHENNAI: With a view to ensuring caste-based enumeration, the Tamil Nadu Backward Classes Commission has suggested a procedural change in filling up the questionnaire prepared for the Census of 2011–Household Schedule.

In his opinion submitted to the State government on April 20 [which was released to the media on Saturday], Chairman of the Commission Justice M.S. Janarthanam stated that “for the systematic enumeration of castes, there is no need at all to amend or alter or add anything new to the questionnaire.” What was required to be done was to furnish the name of the caste in respect of “Others,” namely, Other Backward Classes, in the answer to question nos. 7 (i) and 7 (ii) under the column no. 8 and 9 of the questionnaire. [The questionnaire has a provision for enumerating Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes].

If this was done, the systematic enumeration of castes of “Others”, viz., OBCs and SC/STs would be complete and effective.

The Commission called for providing adequate training to enumerators in this regard. This could be done without any involvement of special or extra expenditure.

The indicators of other criteria for the determination of socially and educationally backward classes of citizens, such as castes/classes regarded as socially backward, those mainly depending on manual labour for livelihood and those having student dropout in the age group of 7 to 15 years could be ascertained from the data available with the Statistics department of the respective States.

Mr. Justice Janarthanam said caste enumeration, carried out as suggested by him, would be authentic and it would enable the government to determine the question of a particular community or caste falling within the ambit of BC or MBC (Most Backward Classes) or otherwise, satisfying the members of such castes or communities demanding reconsideration of their status – BC, MBC or otherwise.

He urged the State government to seek the concurrence of the Union government for the proposed procedural changes which, in his opinion, may not pose any problem. The State government, in its press release, mentioned that it was making public the opinion of the Commission Chairman as this would be of use to the public and political parties.

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