Rectify 1.4 crore errors in caste particulars, states told

New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) Amid demands by some opposition parties for releasing the data of the caste census, the government on Tuesday said there were over 1.4 crore errors and called upon the states to rectify them.

A union home ministry release said the status of the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) was reviewed earlier this month and it emerged that 46,73,034 distinct caste names have been returned.

It said these caste/sub-caste names, synonyms, surnames, clan/gothra phonetic variations, sections and sub-groups will have to be classified by experts having domain knowledge on these issues.

Referring to caste particulars, it said 8,19,58,314 errors were found in the caste returns and these had been communicated to the states and union territories for rectification.

The release said the states have been making efforts to rectify the errors and had corrected 6,73,81,119 of them.

“However, 1,45,77,195 errors are yet to be rectified. For example, Maharashtra (69.1 lakh), Madhya Pradesh (13.9 lakh), West Bengal (11.6 lakh), Rajasthan (7.2 lakh), Uttar Pradesh (5.4 lakh), Karnataka (2.9 lakh), Bihar (1.7 lakh), Tamil Nadu (1.4 lakh) and all other states and union territories still have errors to be rectified.”

It said the data relating to socio-economic features of households in rural areas was released by the rural development ministry on July 3 but not so by the housing and urban poverty alleviation ministry.

Recalling the decision of the Narendra Modi government to form an expert group under Niti Aayog vice chairperson Arvind Panagariya to classify and categorise caste returns, the release said members of the expert group would be finalised by the social justice and empowerment ministry in consultation with the tribal affairs ministry.

“The government is fully committed to completing the SECC and requests the state/UT governments for their fullest cooperation to complete the rectification of errors. Meanwhile, the classification of the available caste/tribe data will be taken up by the expert group,” the release said.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad have accused the central government of withholding information collected in the socio-economic census on castes.

Bihar will face assembly elections before the end of this year.

The Congress and the Communist Party of India have also demanded that the caste census should be made public.

The home ministry had sought approval of cabinet in May 2011 for collecting caste data along with the SECC which was subsequently approved by the then United Progressive Alliance government.

It was decided that after completing the field data collection, the data relating to caste/tribes would be handed over by the Registrar General of India to an expert group to be constituted by the government at an appropriate time for classification.

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