Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Cabinet on Saturday decided to urge the Centre to conduct socio-economic caste enumeration along with the general Census and publish the details without further delay.
Briefing the media after the meeting, which was presided over by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at Lok Seva Bhawan here, Law Minister Pratap Jena said it was decided at the meeting to urge the Centre to conduct a socio-economic caste enumeration simultaneously along with the general Census, either by inserting suitable columns in the Census format or by prescribing a separate format for a simultaneous enumeration of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) and Other Backward Classes/Castes and publish these enumeration details without any delay.
This will enable the state government to expedite the development of these communities with greater momentum for their inclusive growth. “As we are commemorating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, this will be a fitting tribute to his idea of India guided by his talisman in which the welfare of the poorest and the weakest becomes the core objective of the state,” Jena said.
He said though Odisha has made appreciable progress in improving Human Development Indicators (HDI) of these sections of society, especially during the last two decades, there is a need to further accelerate this process of inclusive growth and transformation. In this context, the Cabinet observed that no formal census including caste details of the population has been done since 1931.
The minister further stated that due to the unavailability of reliable and authentic data about the exact number of SEBC and Other Backward Classes/Castes, geographical areas of their spread and density, there has been a huge challenge in ensuring focussed and outcome specific planning.
Stating that the necessity of having such data was well appreciated by the Centre as evident from the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) of 2011, he said the State Cabinet took note of the fact that in the proposed format for the 2021 Census, there is no provision to capture the details of SEBC and Other Backward Classes/Castes despite having done such exercise in the SECC 2011, the full data from which is yet to be released.