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Development Census Serves our Goals Better


Conducting a census to gather information on the educational and professional backgrounds of citizens would enable the government to formulate policies aimed at addressing the gaps hindering our development.


GS 1-

  • Diversity of India
  • Poverty and Developmental Issues

GS 2-

  • Welfare Schemes

Mains Question:

Highlighting the evolution of caste system in India, discuss its relevance in the Indian society today. Should there be an emphasis on conducting a census based on the educational and professional profile of citizens rather than a caste-based census. (15 marks, 250 words).

Issues Relating to Development

Prevalence of discriminatory practices:

  • Despite the scientific classification of human beings as Homo sapiens, discriminatory practices persist based on factors such as religion, race, and caste.
  • It is disheartening for both our nation and humanity as a whole when individuals resort to violence in the name of caste, religion, or race in various parts of the country.
  • Unlike many so-called developed countries that have overcome such social issues, caste continues to play a dominant role in our society.
  • The unfortunate reality is that caste considerations influence relationships, friendships, and even acts of assistance, with parents going to extreme lengths, including violence, to uphold caste norms.

History of the caste system in India:

  • The present-day caste system originated during the post-Vedic period, evolving into more rigid ‘Jathis’ from the varnas.
  • Religious movements led by figures like Buddha and Mahavira challenged the hierarchical nature of the caste system around the 6th century BCE.
  • However, during the colonial British rule, their divide-and-rule policy reinforced social divisions through census operations that classified people into various castes and communities.
  • Sree Narayana Guru, a prominent spiritual philosopher from Kerala, advocated for the philosophy of “one caste, one religion, one god” for the betterment of humanity.
  • Unfortunately, even in his home state, this philosophy is not followed in its true spirit.
  • Caste appears deeply ingrained in Indian society, permeating every religious group.

Present Status of Caste system in India:

  • Despite efforts over 75 years of independence to dismantle the formal caste system through legal means, caste-based discrimination and social stratification remain significant challenges in contemporary India.
  • The opposition parties’ call for a nationwide caste census is viewed critically, raising questions about its retrogressive impact.
  • The concern is whether it may reignite caste sentiments among the youth, promoting historical wrongs and fostering division.

Way Forward:

Instead of focusing on caste-based considerations, politicians should prioritize conducting a census on citizens’ educational and professional profiles. This approach could help identify gaps impeding development and guide the formulation of effective policy measures. The emphasis should shift toward supporting all marginalized citizens based on financial status, irrespective of caste, for comprehensive and inclusive development.

December 2023