There are a lot of people who have a wrong idea about what a caste census will look like.
Read this article in Tehelka written by our old friend. “Census call gains ground”
I skipped the comments of all politicians. I was stunned to find even Yogendra Yadav is totally clueless on this issue.
Speaking to Tehelka on the caste-based census, psephologist Yogendra Yadav had said: “We don’t need to count the exact number of Brahmins, Patels, Yadavs and Mahars in each village. All we need to do is to enumerate the OBCs, just like the scs and the sts.” He was also of the view that the social profile of students in higher educational institutions and organised jobs was needed to know what proportion of these were occupied by privileged castes.
Mr Yadav, you cannot enumerate the OBCs, just like the SCs and STs. This betrays your flawed understanding of the fundamental differences between the OBCs, SCs, and STs.
1. SCs are given benefits based on their caste only. A given caste is either a caste is SC or it is not. Plain and simple. The oppression faced by the SCs today and yesterday are of a qualitatively different nature.
2. OBCs are given benefits based on social and educational backwardness. So, it is necessary to measure each individual caste against specific criteria for backwardness (for example the NCBC educational or social guidelines).
What will a census that asks each person “Are you an OBC ?” achieve? What kind of data will the field officers return ?
It will return absurd results as pointed out by NSSO 61st round. 74% of Tamils will say “Yes” and 6% of Bengalis will say “Yes”. Give or take a few. No one disputes that the overall proportion of OBCs is greater than 27%. Even if it just 10%, they are eligible for 27% quota with a big IF. Each caste so selected must be socially and educationally backward compared to the rest of the population.
Does it mean the census is useless ? No, it is useful in evaluating proportion when correlating with admissions and employment records. Let us say, OBC castes X and Y are easily able to secure 5% of open category seats each for the past few years. To normalize it, you need to know what are the relative populations of the two groups.
It seems AP and KA are working on tabulating this data.
The Andhra Pradesh government is already considering a proposal by the state Backward Classes Commission for conducting a survey of OBCs and their socio-economic conditions in the state whereas the Karnataka government is already conducting one. These state surveys, which are acquiring data not just on caste numbers but demographic characteristics would provide all the details required by the Mandal criteria for identifying OBCs on the basis of ‘social and economic backwardness’.
Finally, this is what the court is asking for. Finish your homeworks before August and present your case strongly and vacate the stay. You can submit that only those states that complete this task can be eligible for quotas. This way the entire OBC quota is not held hostage.