The caste system is India’s adversary, severely limiting the country’s capacity to realise its enormous potential and become a great nation in science, technology, knowledge, art, sport, and economic success. According to studies, 94 percent of marriages are endogamous; 90 percent of menial tasks are undertaken by the disadvantaged castes, although this proportion is inverted in white-collar positions. This catastrophic lack of caste diversity, particularly at decision-making levels in many sectors – the media, the court, higher education, bureaucracy, or the business sector — is hurting these institutions and their performance. It is surprising that, despite the fact that caste is so important in our social, economic, and political lives, no trustworthy and complete caste data exists for more than half of our country’s people.
- To Address Pervasive Inequalities: The unequal distribution of income, resources, and education has resulted in a severe lack of purchasing power among the majority of Indians. We cannot forcefully remove the system as a democratic nation, but we must approach it in a democratic, scientific, and objective manner.
- Reduce Inclusion and Exclusion Errors: Most backward castes may be recognised with precise caste data. Some have reaped enormous benefits throughout the years, while others in this country have received no benefits at all.
- Also reveals privileged section of society: Caste is not simply a cause of disadvantage in our society; it is also a major source of privilege and advantage. We must abandon the notion that caste exclusively applies to those who are disadvantaged, destitute, or otherwise deficient. The contrary is also true: caste has resulted in benefits for specific tribes, which must be documented.
- Caste Plays an Important Role in Indian Society: While census data for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, religions, and linguistic profiles have been collected, there has been no profiling of all castes in India since 1931. Since then, caste has taken on a more prominent role in our lives, as has our dependence on incomplete data.
- The Supreme Court has often requested that governments produce caste statistics; however, this has not been practicable due to the non-availability of such data. As a result, our national life is marred by mutual distrust and misunderstandings among different castes. All of these bodies have had to depend on data from the most recent caste census (1931).
- Benefit in Policy Making: A caste census would bring to the forefront a wide number of concerns that every democratic government has to address, notably the number of individuals who are on the edges, or who are disadvantaged, or the kind of vocations they follow. A caste census, which would create comprehensive data, will enable policymakers to design better policies and implementation plans, as well as a more reasonable debate on sensitive matters.
- Constitutional mandate: Our constitution, like many others, favours performing a caste census. Article 340 calls for the formation of a commission to evaluate the situation of the socially and educationally disadvantaged groups and provide recommendations to governments on the actions that should be taken.
- Caste Is Context-Specific: In India, caste has never been a proxy for class or hardship; it is a different type of ingrained discrimination that frequently transcends class. People with Dalit surnames, for example, are less likely to be contacted for job interviews, even if their qualifications are superior to those of an upper-caste candidate. Landlords are also less inclined to accept them as renters. As a result, measuring is difficult. Every day across the country, marriage to a well-educated, well-off Dalit guy ignites violent retaliation among upper-caste women’s families.
- Repercussions of a Caste Census: Because caste has an emotional component, there are political and social ramifications of a caste census. Concerns have been raised that counting caste may aid in the solidification or hardening of identities. As a result of these ramifications, over a decade after the SECC, a large portion of its data remains unreleased or just partially released.
- National Data Bank Establishment: The Sachar Committee Report suggested the establishment of a national data bank. The Justice Rohini committee was formed in 2017 to investigate the sub-categorisation of OBC communities; nevertheless, there can be no data-bank or accurate sub-categorisation in the lack of data.
- India must be bold and decisive in addressing caste concerns through data and statistics, as the United States (US) does with race issues, by collecting data on race, class, language, and inter-racial marriages, among other metrics. This data serves as a mirror for the state and society of the United States, allowing them to see themselves and make decisions to change their trajectory.
How to structure
- Give an intro about caste census
- Explain the features
- Explain how the data from caste census can improve the government efforts for marginalized sections
- Mention challenges
- Suggest way forward and Conclude