What are the features of the Socio-Economic Caste Census?

Socio-Economic Caste Census is done mainly for mainly two purposes. The first one is to identify the beneficiary groups. Beneficiary identification is made by ranking the households based on their socio-economic status. The database thus created is utilized by the state governments to prepare a list of the family which comes under the BPL group. Government identifies the beneficiaries of several socio-economic welfare schemes by accessing the UID combined database of recipients.

For the policy-making part, Government gets accurate information about the caste-wise population break-up in the country, which also contains information related to socio-economic conditions and available facilities to the particular caste. The Government uses such reports for evaluating the performance of running schemes and framing new policies. The SECC 2018(2011 survey) list provides the yardsticks for running projects of Government.

Salient features of the Socio-Economic Caste Census are:

  • Ministry of Rural Development and the Planning Commission (now NITI Aayog) are the conducting bodies of the survey.
  • SECC 2011 was the first of its kind census.
  • Unlike the regular population census which is carried under the India Act of 1948, the SECC is not carried under any act.
  • The primary purpose of the SECC is to prepare the BPL list and identify the beneficiary groups.
  • All the personal information given under SECC is available for public access in Gram Sabha except for details like caste, tribe, and religion.

Institutions and individuals involved in the SECC census are:

  • Ministry of Rural Development
  • Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation
  • Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India
  • State Government
  • District Magistrate/ Collector
  • Enumerators and Data Entry Operators
  • The general procedure followed for the SECC census.

For carrying out the census on State level, the Union Government provides the logistic and technical reimbursements. The data collection is done by State Government machinery. District Magistrates are responsible for the overall procedure in their respective districts. State Governments appoint the enumerators who perform door to door survey. Notably, the primary school teachers are not to be used as enumerators due to the ban imposed on the same under the Right to Education Act, 2009. The data collection team comprises of two members. There are an enumerator and a data entry operator. The data collection team visits all the households and also reaches out to homeless people on roadsides and public places. SECC uses different methodologies for surveying rural and urban households. The methods used for surveying the urban households in based upon the Hashim Committee while that for rural families; it’s based on the recommendations of the Saxena Committee.

SECC methodology for rural households is a three-parameter approach. It comprises of automatic exclusion, automatic inclusion and ranking on seven deprivation factors. For urban families, the method is similar but involves modified yardsticks for the three parameters. Using the current SECC in 2018, many schemes have been rolled out.

Post Survey Analysis

Once the SECC procedure is completed, the database is forwarded to the Abhijit Sen Committee for analysis. After analyzing the datasets on fixed parameters, the committee comes up with the exclusion and inclusion criteria for Government Welfare Schemes. Presently, the SECC 2011 data is used for identifying the beneficiaries of Food and Pension schemes.

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