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November date for caste census - First ever central survey to determine number of BPL families in state

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OUR CORRESPONDENT   |   Published 05.07.11, 12:00 AM

Ranchi, July 4: The state government will embark on the task of identifying people living below the poverty line as well as gather caste details of each and every citizen from November, as part of the first-ever socio-economic and caste census of the country.

The state rural development department today received a communiqué from the Centre, asking it to begin preparations, which would start next month. The socio-economic and caste census was flagged off from Sankhola village in Hazemara block of West Tripura district last week, and will be undertaken in phases around the country.

“We have decided to carry out the survey in November when there is a lull in agricultural activity. Given the enormity of the task, government officials at every level will need to be trained,” special secretary in the rural development department Paritosh Upadhyaya told The Telegraph.

The census would be carried out keeping in mind the suggestions of an expert group led by National Advisory Council member and former IAS officer N.C. Saxena and the findings of a pilot study carried out in 29 states and Union territories.

Among the “deprivation indicators” suggested by the expert group are households with only one room with kuchha wall and roof, households with no adult member between age of 16 and 59, female-led households with no adult male member, households with a disabled member and no able-bodied adult member, SC/ST households, families with no literate adult above 25 years of age and landless families earning as casual labourers.

The census will rate every household on a scale of 0 to 7, based on the number of criteria fulfilled. Once completed, it would be up to the Planning Commission to decide the cut-off to determine who all would be eligible for the below poverty line tag and the benefits.

Notably, there are 35 lakh below poverty line families in the state at present. Most of them are eligible for highly subsidised foodgrains, old-age pension, homes under Indira Awas Yojana and other benefits. However, the state BPL list is allegedly flawed as many well to do households find a place in it.

Upadhyaya said a handheld device would be used for collection of data for the socio-economic census. The Bharat Electronics Limited-made device would substantially reduce the time required to process data after collection.

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