"The key rationale behind conducting a socio-economic and caste census was to assess the population that is actually below the poverty line (BPL)."To what extent the methodology adopted has been successful in SECC-2011 objectives? Discuss critically.

Model Answer:
Our country has always struggled to define who is poor. Despite of so many committees formed over the last many decades, there has never been a correct insight into who are the legitimate beneficiaries of the welfare schemes. Further, the official estimates of the poor have always tended to underestimate the number of poor in comparison to the estimates done by international organizations such as World Bank. To counter the problem; SECC-2011 was carried out as first caste based census of Independent India. The use of various deprivation factors and automatic exclusion make it free from controversy. Further, its finding are different from what official estimations of rural as well as urban poor by different committees had been so far. The decadal Census focuses on individuals while SECC has focused on households. The data would be helpful for states and centre to target the most needy of the DBT and other schemes. Since SECC has also included the homeless, there is a chance that a large number of hitherto excluded people are brought into the welfare schemes of the government. Further, the caste data might be helpful on if the policy of reservation has really helped the most downtrodden of India. Further, with SECC data, may lead to paradigm shift in the economic policy making and budget allocation both by central and union governments.

Question for UPSC Mains:
“The key rationale behind conducting a socio-economic and caste census was to assess the population that is actually below the poverty line (BPL).” To what extent the methodology adopted has been successful in SECC-2011 objectives? Discuss critically.

Published: February 7, 2016 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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