Topic – Salient features of Indian society
1) Critically examine the need for conducting caste based census in Indian society?(250 words)
Why this question
The article raises some pertinent questions regarding the nature of Indian society and whether caste based data would strengthen the existing biases or help us in better analyzing the need of some of the positive action measures for one. SECC was in news a lot and considering the history of census in India where caste based data has not been collected, the debate over the need of its inclusion is justified.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to delve deeper into the benefits of collecting caste based data in census as well as the harms it might cause in light of the reality of Indian society.
Critically examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic, get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Give a brief history of census in India highlighting that caste based census has not been conducted in post independent India. Mention about SECC
- Discuss the cons – creates chasms within society, historical apprehensions when such data was used to further divide and rule policy, the reality of Indian society and the implications that it would have in a situation of trust deficit between communities, it would be a process of recording caste generated a conception of community as a homogeneous and classifiable community and thereby influenced the processes of political representation.
- Discuss the pros – lack of accurate data related to many affirmative action programmes of the government, helpful in the debate related to reservation policy, targeted poverty reduction programmes etc
- Discuss the challenges in collecting caste based data – subdivisions within caste, elaborate administrative exercise etc
Conclusion – Based on above arguments give a fair and balanced view.