Home National Bihar Caste Census Explained: First Phase Begins, What It Means And Why It Is Being Done

Bihar Caste Census Explained: First Phase Begins, What It Means And Why It Is Being Done

The Bihar caste census exercise will be conducted in two phases and will be concluded by May 2023.

by News Desk
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The much-talked-about caste census has begun in the state of Bihar on Saturday. The first phase of the census will culminate on January 21 while the second phase will start on 1st April this year. A total amount of around Rs 500 crore will be spent on the exercise. Speaking on the census, Patna DM said, “We’ve started the caste survey today, first phase will be held from Jan 7 to Jan 21.

The second phase will be held in April in which information related to socio-economics will be taken. There are a total of 20 lakh families in Patna, which will be counted in 1st phase.”

Seen as a strong move to woo voters of different castes, the census was heavily debated in Bihar. It is also one of the reasons why JD(U) broke its alliance with BJP last year and formed a coalition government in the state with its old rival-cum-political partner, RJD. Both Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav have been backing the cause of the caste census asserting it will help them form better welfare schemes for the people of different castes in the state.

Talking to the news agency ANI, Bihar Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav said, “Caste-based survey will start in Bihar from today. It will give us scientific data so that budget and social welfare schemes can be made accordingly. BJP is anti-poor. They don’t want this to happen.” Here we tell you what caste census is and why it is being done.

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What Is Caste Census?

A caste census is basically the counting of people belonging to different castes in a particular marked area. With this two-phase exercise, the state government will try to get numbers of people belonging to SC, ST, and OBC communities and their financial status among other important things. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, while talking to reporters, said, “The exercise is basically ‘Jaati Aadharit Ganana’.

People belonging to every religion and caste will be covered during the exercise”, reported PTI.

Why Is Caste Census Being Done?

Caste, as an entity, plays a major role in Indian politics. However, the advocates of the caste-based census argue that reservation to the SCs and STs was given based on their population, but this is not the case with the OBCs. The Congress-led UPA government conducted a socio-economic and caste census in 2011, but the data was not released.

Bihar has been repeatedly demanding a caste census for the last several years. The state legislative assembly passed two unanimous resolutions, in 2018 and 2019, in favour of a caste census. Last year in June, an all-party meeting in Bihar, chaired by CM Nitish Kumar, unanimously gave its go-ahead.

Elaborating on the importance of the caste census, CM Nitish Kumar said, “The caste-based headcount will be beneficial for all… It will enable the government to work for the development of various sections of society, including those who are deprived. After completion of the enumeration exercise…, the final report will be sent to Centre also.”

How Will It Be Done?

According to PTI, the training of enumerators which include teachers, Anganwadi, MGNREGA or Jeevika workers, began on December 15. They will also record information about the financial status of all people. Chandrashekhar Singh, Patna District Magistrate informed that the data will be collected digitally through a mobile application.

“Data will be collected digitally through a mobile application as part of the survey, from the panchayat to the district level. The app will have questions about the place, caste, the number of people in a family, their profession, and annual income. Census workers include teachers, Anganwadi, MGNREGA or Jeevika workers”, he said.

The exercise will be conducted in a total of 12,696 blocks in the Patna district, he added. The exercise will be conducted in two phases and will be concluded by May 2023. First Phase: In the first phase, which will be over by January 21, the number of all households in the state will be counted.

Second Phase: In the next phase, data pertaining to people of all castes, sub-castes, and religions will be collected.

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