This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Caste Census Essay

3707 words - 15 pages


Caste and Census: A Forward Looking Strategy
Sonalde Desai

In modern India, vast quantities of research have documented caste-based inequalities in many dimensions of well-being. If these inequalities are not simply imagined but reflect social processes that deserve public policy attention, incorporating questions about caste in the census is imperative. However, there is a need to devise an accounting framework that has clarity of purpose since there are many complexities involved in collecting caste data.


pponents of inclusion of caste in the census argue that for a society which seeks to abolish castebased inequalities, a census that inquires about caste ...view middle of the document...

However, it is easier to suggest that caste be counted (e g, the EPW editorial of 22 May 2010), than to devise an accounting framework. Much of the difficulty emerges from lack of clarification regarding the purpose of this accounting.

Sonalde Desai ( is with the National Council of Applied Economic Research, New Delhi, and the Department of Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA.

Why Collect Caste Data?
The most recent demand for a count of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) has come from a powerful OBC lobby that hopes for an increase in OBC reservations if the
july 17, 2010

count turns out to be higher than expected. The 27% reservation for OBCs is based on the estimate by the Mandal Commission that OBCs form about 52% of the population and since all OBC families are not poor or “backward”, a quota limit set at about half the estimated population makes sense. However, the Mandal Commission’s claim of 52% of the population being OBC was based on somewhat flimsy empirical evidence and if the Census 2011 identifies more than 52% of the population as being OBC, this would bolster the claims for higher representation. Successive rounds of National Sample Survey (NSS) have documented the number of individuals identifying themselves as OBC at 36% in 1999-2000 and at 41% in 2004-05. Hence it is unlikely that the actual count will exceed 52%. However there exist other, less partisan, arguments for a caste census. Social background continues to define privilege and lack thereof in Indian society resulting in demands for positive discrimination from marginalised groups. Unfortunately, these demands are continually stymied by lack of data. What data exist from sample surveys continue to document disparities in education, income and standards of living between different socio-religious communities. Table 1 (p 11), based on the India Human Development Survey (IHDS), documents substantial disparities in different markers of human development across different social groups. This nationally representative survey of 41,554 households was organised by researchers from National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and University of Maryland and was carried out in 2004-05. The IHDS is not unique in documenting these disparities. A vast number of studies based on NSS, National Family Health Survey (NFHS) and other sample surveys have documented inequalities between scheduled castes (SCs), scheduled tribes (STs), OBCs and forward castes. However, utilisation of survey statistics is by no means adequate for evidence-based policy design. Survey data suffer from two shortcomings. First, even in large surveys such as the NSS, sample sizes get extremely small once
vol xlv no 29
EPW Economic & Political Weekly



we begin to compare groups on several dimensions of disadvantage. For example, if we wanted to address the question of whether Christian dalits are disadvantaged like other dalits...

Other Essays Like Caste Census

Women Empowerment in India Essay

5597 words - 23 pages fundamental rights of the Indian Constitution specifically mentions: "The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them". Women in India have been given equality of opportunity in all matters relating to education, employment, and legal status, and they can aspire to grace the highest office of the State. However, this is truly not indicative of the existing position of

History - 4 Essay

3855 words - 16 pages Narayan Sinha, Jayaprakash Narayan, Jivatram Kripalani and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. With the already existing nationalistic feeling combined with Gandhi's popularity the Congress became a forceful mass organization in the country, bringing together millions of people by specifically working against caste differences, untouchability, poverty, and religious and ethnic boundaries. Although predominantly Hindu, it had members from virtually every religion

The Separation Of Capital Ownership And Control

1577 words - 7 pages The argument of whether the separation of capital ownership and control is an efficient form of organization has constantly been a controversial issue. The criticism whether the controllers’ act is in the best interest of the owners’ wills never end as long as hired managers operate management. As the number of public companies has been increasing over the course of this century, meanwhile the American style of contact based corporation has

The Versatility And Flexibility Of OLED's

1014 words - 5 pages In April 1, 2002, organic light emitting diodes gain rise in the scientific community with their published, more practical form at Ames Laboratory. “Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, in collaboration with scientists at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, have developed and demonstrated a novel, fluorescence-based chemical sensor that is more compact, versatile and less expensive than existing technology of its

Comparing The Moral Virtues Of Antony And Julian The Apostate

1103 words - 5 pages Roman emperor Julian the Apostate and Christian leader Antony both exhibited many qualities of character during their existence. Both of them led very distinctive lives although shared several ethical values. Book 25 of “The Later Roman Empire” and the book “Early Christian Lives” show concrete evidence of this. In the following essay, I will argue how both leaders’ lives were devoted to their religious beliefs and their mutual cardinal virtues

Living In A Cashless Society

1637 words - 7 pages Money in a traditional sense no longer exists. Money is becoming much of a concept than a physical material, and most ordinary bitter have not see the reality of the switch. People today are using credit and debit cards on a regular basis and in everyday situations such as meal purchased at fast food, highway tolls, clothing, groceries, gas stations, etc. all of these means of systems could be regarded as a cashless society or world. The question

The French And Indian War: The "Real" First World War

1955 words - 8 pages The Seven Years War, or more commonly referred to as “The French and Indian War”, has been called the true First World War. In this book The French and Indian War: Deciding the Fate of North America, the author and historian Walter R. Borneman paints a detailed and elaborate picture that justifies the claim of it being the first true war of global proportions. If ever there truly was a climax to the never ending feud of the European powers

Is The Use Of Animals In Medical Research A Necessary Measure?

1513 words - 7 pages Throughout history, animals have been used in experiments to test product safety and obtain medical knowledge that benefits both humans and animals alike. Every year there are numerous medical breakthroughs, such as medications and surgical instruments, which are tested on animals to insure their safety before they are deemed acceptable for human use. Even though the results of the experiments saved millions of human lives, they are also

Education And The Evolving Job Market

2363 words - 10 pages The lives of students today are changing. They are preparing for lives and jobs that have never before existed. If teachers hope to have a significant and worthwhile impact on these quickly changing lives, they must change the way they think, prepare, and instruct our future generations. Children cannot afford to have teachers who remain stagnant in their methods and ideals. Students crave instructors that are willing to allow them to tap

Young And Relentless

1737 words - 7 pages There are numerous influences that can be responsible of teenager’s behaviors and attitude as they develop. One factor that is important to these behaviors is parental figures being over involved or uninvolved in their children’s lives. Many of these effects include illegal substance abuse, rising sexual activity, underage alcohol consumption, and tobacco use. Studies show parental participation plays a key role in the characteristics developed

The Natural Law Theory

1231 words - 5 pages Obeying by the natural law theory is the only true and moral way to live life; especially a life lived in God’s image. God’s presence is a guiding factor to obtaining a moral and virtuous life, which can only be obtained by following the natural law theory. God created a set of laws as a supreme guide for humans to live life, like any law these laws were created to ensure wellbeing for everyone. The laws he created are the civil law, the natural

Related Papers

Reservation Essay

3089 words - 13 pages occurred in 1979 when the Mandal Commission was established to assess the situation of the socially and educationally backward classes.[40] The commission did not have exact figures for a sub-caste, known as the Other Backward Class(OBC), and used the 1930[41] census data, further classifying 1,257 communities as backward, to estimate the OBC population at 52%.[41] In 1980 the commission submitted a report, and recommended changes to the

Role Of Corporate Sector In Education Through Csr

1195 words - 5 pages caste position in society. All these have consequences on their nutrition intake, access to healthcare, environment and education. Poverty has a direct impact on the mortality and morbidity among children. In India, a girl child faces discrimination and differential access to nutritious food and gender based violence is evident from the falling sex ratio and the use of technologies to eliminate the girl child. The manifestations of these

Evolution Of Indian Education Essay

4903 words - 20 pages was imparted on the basis of caste and the related duties that one had to perform as a member of a specific caste. The Brahmans learned about scriptures and religion while the Kshatriya was educated in the various aspects of warfare. The Vaishya caste learned commerce and other specific vocational courses while education was largely denied to the Shudras, the lowest caste. The earliest venues of education in India were often secluded from the

Measures Done To Alleviate Poverty In India

1820 words - 8 pages than there were in 2004, increasing the effective poverty rate from 27.5% to 37.2%.[17] As per the 2001 census, 35.5% of Indian households availed of banking services, 35.1% owned a radio or transistor, 31.6% a television, 9.1% a phone, 43.7% a bicycle, 11.7% a scooter, motorcycle or a moped, and 2.5% a car, jeep or van; 34.5% of the households had none of these assets. [18] According to Department of Telecommunications of India the phone density