SECC 2011 paints grim picture of rural India, to help improve social schemes for benefits of poor

Union Minister for Rural Development Chaudhary Birender Singh releases the New Socio-Economic and Caste Census

New Delhi, July 4: The findings of the long awaited Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011, which would be used as basis to improve various social welfare schemes for the benefits of poor, projects a very grim picture of the rural India.

The Census, which was unveiled jointly by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birendra Singh on Friday, revealed that one out of three families living in villages is landless and depends on manual labour for their livelihood.

According to the SECC 2011, which is the first paperless census conducted on hand-held electronic devices by the government in 640 districts, 23.52 per cent rural families have no literate adult above the age of 25 years, indicating the poor state of education among the rural masses.

There were a total of 24.39 crore households in the country, of which 17.91 crore lived in village, and of these, 10.69 crore were considered as deprived households.

The census was done during the UPA-2 regime to identify deprivation in rural areas. It had helped the government to wriggle out of the Rs 32 per day per person (in urban areas) poverty line controversy which drew flak from different quarters.

The UPA government had said that poverty line of Rs 32 for cities will be used for academic purpose and benefits and subsidies under the various social sector schemes would be linked to the SECC.

Releasing the census, Jaitley said, “It is after seven-eight decades that we have this document after 1932 of the caste census…It is going to be very important document for all policy makers both at central government and state governments…this document will help us to target groups for support in terms of policy planning.”

Although the name of the census suggests caste but it does not include castes, said Rural Development Minister Singh.

“The name of the report indicates (caste) but caste is not reflected in our data … still the name is Socio Economic and Caste Census,” he said.

(With Agency Inputs)

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