SECC is intended to survey every Indian household, both rural and urban, and inquire about their economic position in order for Central and State authorities to develop a set of deprivation indicators, permutations, and combinations of which each authority may use to identify a poor or deprived individual. It is also intended to inquire about each individual’s caste name, allowing the government to re-evaluate which caste groups were economically disadvantaged and which were not. SECC has the potential to allow for a more comprehensive mapping of inequalities.
How it is useful in inclusive development
- To Address Pervasive Inequalities: The majority of Indians suffer from a severe lack of purchasing power due to unequal distribution of wealth, resources, and education. We must confront it democratically, scientifically, and objectively.
- Our constitution, too, encourages the conduct of a caste census. Article 340 calls for the creation of a commission to evaluate the conditions of the socially and educationally disadvantaged and offer recommendations to governments on what steps should be done.
- Benefit in Policy Making: A caste census would bring to the fore a wide number of concerns that any democratic government needs to address, particularly the number of individuals who are on the edges, or who are deprived, or the types of vocations they follow. A caste census will yield extensive data, allowing politicians to design better policies and implementation plans, as well as a more reasonable debate on sensitive matters.
- Reduce Inclusion and Exclusion Errors: Most backward castes may be identified with precise caste data. Some have reaped enormous benefits over time, while others in this country have reaped no benefits at all.
- Identify the Privileged Section of Society: Caste is not only a cause of disadvantage in our society; it is also a significant source of privilege and benefit. We must abandon the notion that caste applies solely to those who are disadvantaged, poor, or otherwise deficient. The contrary is also true: caste has resulted in benefits for specific tribes, which must be documented.
- Because caste includes an emotional component, there are political and social ramifications of a caste census. Counting caste has raised worries that it may assist to consolidate or harden identities.
- As a result of these ramifications, nearly a decade after the SECC, a significant portion of the data remains unreleased or just partially released.
- India has to be bold and decisive in using data and statistics to address caste concerns, similar to how the United States (US) collects data on race, class, language, and inter-race marriages, among other metrics, to address race issues.
- This data serves as a mirror for the United States’ state and society, allowing them to view themselves and make judgments on course adjustments.
- Use technologies to examine the caste data on SECC: The government can assess the SECC data and condense it into relevant categories using technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. Following that, the government would be able to divulge certain crucial caste-related information. This will give us the time we need to assess the need for a caste census.
- The Sachar Committee suggested that a national data bank be established.
- In 2017, the Justice Rohini committee was created to investigate the OBC communities’ sub-categorisation; however, without data, there can be no data-bank or proper sub-categorisation.
Dr. BR Ambedkar declared that if India was to achieve a position of pride in the international community, caste would have to be eradicated first. The twenty-first century is the ideal time to address India’s caste problem, which would otherwise come at a high cost, not only sociologically, but also politically and economically, and cause us to lag behind in the development index.
How to structure:
1) Start with what caste census is
2) Critically analyse why the caste census is needed for inclusive development.
3) Mention the areas where it has its flaws
4) Write way forward and conclude