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Union Cabinet okays caste-based census

New Delhi: The government, Thursday, approved a proposal to conduct a survey based on caste, religion and economic conditions that will help in identifying people living below and above the poverty line and their social backgrounds.

The proposed census was approved at the Union Cabinet meeting here chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The survey is expected to begin soon. Information of caste and religion will help in evaluating the widely held belief that social and religious backgrounds had limited economic opportunities for most Indians, official sources said.

Census enumerators will distribute questionnaires regarding caste and religion asking just two questions to respondents: What is your caste and what is your religion.

But the enumeration of people on poverty lines is a technical process and would involve many questions like the number of family members, daily income and expenses, sources said.

The poverty census was earlier carried out in 2002, but it would be the first time that this information would be clubbed with data about caste and religion.

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