Reality Check India

An early census count ?

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on November 19, 2006

The 100th post of Reality Check India has some positive news.


It seems the Indian Express has access to a draft of a parliamentary panel on OBC quotas.

The parliamentary standing committee on education is set to recommend a survey of Backward Castes in order to ascertain the “relative backwardness of BCs,” and subsequently ensure that the benefits of reservation go to the “genuinely deserving, who would be handicapped without it.”

. . .  

Observing that there is “major limitation on historical data about the socio-economic position of OBCs,” the committee said a “comprehensive survey of population to bring out the social, educational and economic profile of each caste/community,” is required. The report says one such survey should be done immediately and should be part of the Census.

Full story here

Way back in August, this blog said that among all the alternatives, Karnataka had the best system. It looks like we might be headed towards a Karnataka style quota system where the OBC quota is split into 5,6, or even larger sub groups.  

This committee is recommending a comprehensive survey of population to bring out the social, educational, and economic profile of each caste or community. This would provide us access to not just OBC data but data on individual castes within the OBC group (Yadavs, Vokkaligas, Ezhavas, Gounders, Mudalis, Chetties, etc).  The committee goes further and says this survey must be done immediately. This is good news, there is no harm advancing the census by 3-4 years to collect this data because we are on the verge of a dramatic quota regime.  The bad aspect of caste census is that our dream of a casteless society may go out the window for now, but that has already happened due to caste quotas.

The only thing worse than caste quotas is caste quotas without data.

So, in a perverse way, let us welcome being compulsorily counted on our caste.

Applause please.

Clap clap !


4 Responses

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  1. p said, on November 20, 2006 at 2:59 am

    And, This is the First Comment 😉

  2. Reason said, on November 20, 2006 at 3:30 am

    The report does not reveal who are the members of this standing committee, and who expressed which opinion. If you read the other opinions –
    1)The recommended categorisation of backward castes does not amount to separating the creamy layer. “Creamy layer is not required at this point of time,” the report said.

    2)The standing committee rejected the provision in the draft bill that allowed elite super-specialty research centres to be outside the purview of reservation. The draft bill had an annexure of such excluded institutions.

    If these members operate with any logic, creamy layer will be the first thing they will look at. So logic or data collection can not be the aim of the proposed census.

    I think the proposed census to figure out the ‘relative backwardness of the BCs’ is an attempt to increase reservation percentage nationally, and add a ‘most backward’ category (like in tamil nadu) nationally. A census to collect data is pointless – the interpretation of that data will still be with these morons. No existing ‘backward’ caste will admit it is not backward, regardless of what the data shows. And select ‘backward’ castes will claim a ‘most backward’ status (and get away with it depending on how much of a votebank they are). And to accommodate this ‘most’ backward castes, reservation will have to be increased beyond 50%. The constitution is waiting to be amended anyway.

  3. realitycheck said, on November 20, 2006 at 4:14 am


    Creamy layer itself is a secondary concept. If you look at Supreme Court judgements it is only there as a qualitative check to prevent abuse of the quota system. It is a *must* only because the selection of castes for inclusion in the OBC list is highly compromised by the inclusion of the richest and most powerful communities in many states.

    The root and fundamental issue is selection of castes for inclusion in the OBC list. Entire political frameworks such as the dravidian movement and the Yadav/Kurmi politics in Bihar are based on this classification.

    A startling thing about the OBC quota regime is that even if it is implemented as designed – it is still a system that gives affirmative action to the “AVERAGE” indian. Affirmative action or reservations must only be given to the backward – not the average or above average communities.

    Collection of such data will go a long way to identifying the really backward. In the process, it will snatch the biggest weapon from the hands of the politicians and some of their supporters in the media and the blogosphere – the lack of data.

  4. Barbarindian said, on November 20, 2006 at 7:29 pm

    The slices will not stop at 5 – 6. Eventually there will be a concept of backlogs since some of the courses admit only a handful of students and hence can not cater to all castes. So, say Jats will have a waiting period of 10 years for a seat in AIIMS until say, all Mudaliar backlogs are cleared. It would be fun.

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