The Union government has not enumerated caste-wise populations other than Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) since Independence, the Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday, February 8. Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said the intent of the government for conducting Census 2021 was notified in the Gazette of India on March 28, 2019.
However, he said, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the census and related field activities have been postponed until further orders. "The castes and tribes which are specifically notified as Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) as per the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 and the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950, as amended from time to time, are enumerated in the Census. The government of India has not enumerated caste-wise populations other than SCs and STs in Census since Independence," he said in a written reply to a question.
Rai said that the government has approved an allocation of Rs 8754.23 crore for the exercise of Census of India 2021. The coverage and accuracy is ensured by the Census officers appointed under the Census Act, 1948 and rules framed thereunder, he said. The demand for the Census to include data on all castes, not just SCs and STs, has been raised by politicians across the country in recent years.
The BJP-led Union government had released the preliminary results of the 2011 Socio-Economic and Caste Census in 2015. However, in September last year, the Union government in its affidavit to the Supreme Court said that it would neither release the 2011 figures nor repeat the exercise of enumerating castes in the future.
In its affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the government said that the 2011 Caste Census was fraught with grave â€śinaccuraciesâ€ť and â€śunusableâ€ť for any official purpose on account of it. It also said that they were against collecting any information on castes, other than Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), in the 2021 Census, which has been delayed.