While there is a debate in the country regarding caste census, the central government has made it clear in an affidavit given in the Supreme Court that it will not conduct caste census. In such a situation, especially in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, in the midst of continuous demand by parties doing politics regarding OBC, the question arises as to why caste census is needed? To understand this, it is necessary to look at the number and condition of OBCs and other castes in the country.
44.4% OBC: Of the 17.24 crore rural households in the country, 44.4 percent belong to the Other Backward Classes (OBC). Which are from seven states namely Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh. On the other hand, when it comes to political participation, a total of 235 Lok Sabha members reach Parliament from these states.
Data released earlier this month through a survey conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation shows that of an estimated 17.24 crore rural households, 44.4% are OBCs, 21.6% Scheduled Castes (SCs), 12.3% are from Scheduled Tribes (ST) and 21.7% are from other groups. At the same time, 9.3 crore or 54% of the total rural households are agricultural households.
Tamil Nadu (67.7%) has the highest proportion of OBC households in rural areas and Nagaland (0.2%) has the lowest. Apart from Tamil Nadu, the situation in the remaining six states is as follows- Bihar (58.1%), Telangana (57.4%), Uttar Pradesh (56.3%), Kerala (55.2%), Karnataka (51.6%), Chhattisgarh (51.4%) . With this population of OBC, political participation in these states is also very strong. Because in the 543-member Lok Sabha, 235 members are elected from here.
Further, the share of rural OBC households is higher in four states – Rajasthan (46.8%), Andhra Pradesh (45.8%), Gujarat (45.4%) and Sikkim (45%) as compared to the national figure of 44.4%. Overall, the other 17 states – Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Haryana, Assam, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Tripura, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland Rural OBC households are few in number.
The survey results show that out of an estimated 9.3 crore agricultural households, 45.8% are OBCs. Apart from this, 15.9% belong to the Scheduled Castes, 14.2% to the Scheduled Tribes and 24.1% from other groups.
According to the data on the average monthly income per farmer family from the survey, the average monthly income of a farmer family during the agricultural year 2018-19 was Rs 10,218, while that of OBC agricultural households (Rs 9,977), scheduled caste households (Rs 8,142). ), was lower in terms of ST households (Rs 8,979). However, agricultural households from ‘other social groups’ recorded an average monthly income of Rs 12,806. The average monthly income per agricultural household in the OBC category ranged between Rs 5,009 and Rs 22,384 during the agricultural year 2018-19, state-wise.
Rationale behind conducting caste census: Parties demanding caste census say that their participation in political representation is not that much, even after having a large number according to the population. Once the numbers are known, their participation will also increase based on that. However, there is also a logic behind the caste census that, if the numbers are correctly estimated, accurate plans will be made in the right direction regarding the development of backward castes.