HomePoliticsCaste-Based Survey vs. Census: Unpacking the Debate in Bihar

Caste-Based Survey vs. Census: Unpacking the Debate in Bihar

The ongoing controversy surrounding a caste-based survey in Bihar has ignited a significant discourse regarding the acquisition of demographic and socioeconomic data for the purpose of effective policy planning. With the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the Nitish Kumar government in conflict with the national government over the methodology and authority to carry out such an operation, the distinction between a caste-based survey and a census is at the center of the debate.

What truly matters is the fundamental difference that sets apart a census from a survey. Only the central government has the capacity to conduct a comprehensive census. The constitution mandates this undertaking, providing a comprehensive understanding of the composition of the population.

On the other hand, the Bihar government deems a caste-based survey as necessary. This study differs from a census due to its emphasis on gathering comprehensive socioeconomic data, with a particular focus on caste dynamics. The aim is to develop a profound understanding of the social and economic differences prevalent among various caste groups. Advocates assert that this information holds paramount importance in identifying areas grappling with extreme poverty.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s assertion that a survey is imperative for amassing financial data from individuals irrespective of their caste, religion, or economic background underscores the overarching objective of fostering a more inclusive approach to policymaking. The Bihar government is committed to achieving equitable distribution of resources and uplifting the marginalized. Furthermore, the Deputy Chief Minister’s remarks lend additional weight to the arguments in favor of a caste-based survey. He contends that the primary basis for implementing social welfare initiatives should be economic circumstances. Devoid of accurate and scientifically gathered data on economic inequalities, the efficacy of these programs might be jeopardized.

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