Don't club caste census with poverty survey: CPI

The Communist Party of India on Friday urged the government not to club the caste census with survey work on poverty apprehending there would be inordinate delay in compiling the caste data in the absence of any timeline for completion of the task.

Raising the issue in the Rajya Sabha through a special mention, Syed Azeez Pasha (CPI) said that while the government had inserted the caste column into the poverty survey questionnaire, the processing of the two would be done separately.

The poverty data, he said, was to be processed by the State governments while information on caste would have to be separated and sent to the office of the Registrar General of India. “Whereas the poverty data has to be made available before the commencement of the 12th Five Year Plan in April 2012, no time frame has been announced by the government of India for completion of processing and publication of the caste data. It can be dragged on indefinitely.”

He said raw and unusable caste data collected in the field would be transferred to the office of the Registrar General of India, which would sit on it for years in the name of “classifying” the castes.

According to estimates, Mr. Pasha said the present poverty-cum-caste survey would cost Rs. 4,000 crore.

“Instead of allowing precious time and funds to be wasted in this exercise knowingly, the government should immediately cancel this ill-conceived decision to club the caste census with the poverty survey and honour its existing Cabinet decision to hold a caste census under the Census Act through the Census Commissioner of India, in February 2012,” the CPI MP said.

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