Headline : Census 2021 to collect OBC data, use maps

Headline : Census 2021 to collect OBC data, use maps

Details :

The News

  • In a first, Census 2021 will collect data on Other Backward Classes (OBC).


Key features of Census 2021

  • The decennial exercise of Census headcount will begin from February 2021.
  • About 25 lakh enumerators are being trained for accurate collection of data.
  • For the first time, geo-referencing using maps at the time of house listing might be undertaken.
  • While the 2011 included a separate column for Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes, in 2021 OBCs would also be an option in the column.
  • Further the Census data will be released within three years after conducting of Census.
  • Currently it takes seven or eight years to release the data.
  • Besides for the first time the data collected, in the form of ‘schedules’, will be stored electronically.



  • Collecting data on OBC will signify caste as an index in population enumeration.
  • The last time data on caste was collected was in Census 1931.
  • Following this it was decided in 2011 to conduct caste census.
  • However the 2011 caste data collected as part of the Socio-economic Caste Census (SECC) is yet to be released because the data was full of anomalies.
  • This is because SECC 2011 was a response-based exercise.
  • It consists of more than 46 lakh castes, sub-castes, clans etc.
  • Thus sub-categorising them has become difficult.
  • Thus to avoid this, the government has decided to have a separate column with pre-decided list of castes in 2021 census.




Significance of collecting OBC data

  • It will give a correct perspective on the social status of OBCs in the country.
  • OBC data of Census 2021 will complement a commission that was constituted in 2017 to examine sub-categorisation of OBCs.
  • In 2017, a 5-member commission under Justice Rohini was constituted for sub-categorisation of OBCs in the central list.
  • It will help in scientific determination of inequitable distribution of reservation benefits.
  • It will also help in scientific approach for sub-categorisation.


Section : Polity & Governance