Socio-economic caste census: only 4 states, UTs complete survey

Union rural development minister, Jairam Ramesh, asks all states to sort out inconsistencies in preliminary data

By Jitendra
Published: Wednesday 25 September 2013

image The socio-economic caste census (SECC) undertaken by the government of India in 2011 to gather information on the condition of people across the country is still far from complete. Most states and Union Territories (UTs) are likely to miss the September deadline for publishing survey data. Only Haryana, Nagaland, Lakshadweep and Dam & Diu have so far published their SECC list. The Union Ministry of Rural Development, which is nodal agency to oversee this survey, is hopeful the survey will be completed by end of October this year. But it is doubtful if populous states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which have made slow progress in enumeration, will meet this deadline either.

The survey is being carried out by the Centre to generate information on a large number of social and economic indicators relating to households across the country. State governments are expected to prepare authentic lists of families living below poverty line (BPL) on the basis of the information generated. SECC survey is also expected to address the shortcomings of the 2002 BPL survey.

There have been reports of discrepancies in the survey data. Earlier last week, Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh wrote letters to chief ministers of all states after inconsistencies were found in the data collected during the preliminary survey. There was a reported difference of one per cent in the population of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes when the lists were tallied with Census results in a few blocks. Ramesh asked the states to sort out these inconsistencies at the earliest and work with caution.

The survey is being carried out by trained enumerators, who are mostly members of pachayats or village-level MGNREGS secretaries.

The rural development ministry has, meanwhile, rejected media reports about inconsistencies in data collection and said the minister's letter is just a precautionary measure. Parthpratim Mitra, chief economic advisor of monitoring unit of the ministry and the nodal officer supervising SECC survey, said the report in media is based on speculation and that the ministry has not yet released any official data.

“The survey has checks and balances at several levels—from the enumeration stage, to public scrutiny at the gram sabha level to avoid mis-reporting,” he said.

“The preliminary data collected by enumerators will be put before gram sabhas for scrutiny of individual claims. Except for the two states and UTs mentions, no other state or UT has put their survey results in public domain. Almost every state has missed the deadline of putting up the draft list. “We are hopeful that a number of states will release draft list of survey by the end of October” said Mitra.

SECC is now going to enter the post-enumeration phase where the process of draft publication would soon be started and kept before gram sabha and its offices as well as block development offices, he added

Asked about the role of the survey for implementation of the Food Security Act passed by Parliament in its last session, Mitra said: “The list has nothing to do with food-security scheme. Many states like Kerala, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana have already been implementing food security scheme without completion of survey. Of course, this will help in improving data base of needful population and would be targeted and used for different projects and schemes.” 

Deprivation indicators for BPL households
SECC was notified in June 2011; it has seven deprivation indicators to rank households on a scale of 0 to 7. Households with the highest deprivation score will have the highest priority for inclusion in the list of BPL households. These indicators are:
  • Households with only one room, kucha walls and kucha roof
  • No adult member between the ages of 16 and 59
  • Female headed households with no adult male member between 16 and 59
  • Households with disabled member and no able bodied adult member
  • SC/ST households
  • Households with no literate adult above 25 years
  • Landless households deriving a major part of their income from manual casual labour

Automatic inclusion criteria

Some households will be automatically included in list of BPL households. These are:

  • A household without shelter
  • Destitute/living on alms
  • Manual scavengers
  • Primitive tribal groups
  • Legally released bonded labourers

Automatic exclusion criteria

There are certain criteria which would result in automatic exclusion from list of BPL households. These are:

  • Households that possess any of the following: motorized two/three/four wheeler; fishing boat, mechanized three/four wheeler agricultural equipment; and Kisan Credit Card with credit limit of Rs. 50,000 and above
  • Household with any member as a Government employee
  • Households with non-agricultural enterprises registered with the government
  • Households where any member of the family is earning more than Rs. 10,000 per month; paying income tax; paying professional tax
  • Households having three or more rooms with all rooms having pucca walls and roof
  • Households that own a refrigerator
  • Households with landline phone
  • Households that own 2.5 acres (one acre equals 0.4 hectare) or more of irrigated land with at least one irrigation equipment
  • Households owning five acres or more of irrigated land for two or more crop seasons
  • Households owning at least 7.5 acres of land or more with at least one irrigation equipment

Socio economic & caste census 2011 in rural India

Selected socio-economic statistics India, 2011

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