Data from the socio-economic caste census (SECC) released on Friday will help the government better implement subsidy programmes, measure outcomes and plug leakages, officials said.
Nearly 18 crore rural households were surveyed across India in the first exercise of its kind in seven decades with the aim to identify the root cause of poverty and ensure an efficient delivery system for welfare schemes.
“The enormity of schemes and reaches that all governments have, this document will form a basis of helping us target groups for support in terms of policy planning,” finance minister Arun Jaitely said releasing the report.
Terming it a document that will reflect the reality of India, Jaitley said the SECC data will act as a crucial input for all policymakers at the Centre as well as the states.
“It is after 7-8 decades that we have this document following the 1932 caste census. It is also a document which contains various details ... who are the ones who have qualitatively moved up in terms of life, which are the ones both in terms of geographical regions and social groupings that need to be targeted in future planning,” he said.
The exhaustive data, government officials say, will not only be taken into account while implementing various development schemes including MGNREGA, housing for all, and national food security Act, but will also help in assessing outcomes.
With the direct benefit transfer scheme in place since 2014 that puts money promptly into the accounts of beneficiaries, the data will help government determine the number of people being pulled out of poverty every year.
“SECC provides an opportunity to simultaneously address the multi-dimensionality of poverty by addressing the deprivation of households in education, skills, housing, employment, health, nutrition, water, sanitation, social and gender mobilisation and entitlement,” a government statement said.
The data was complied after information was collected at the individual and household levels including for occupation, income and source of income, assets, housing, education, disability, religion, caste SC/ST status, etc.
Those who were automatically included were families without shelter, the destitute living on alms, manual scavengers, primitive tribal groups and legally released bonded labourers.
Those who were automatically excluded were households with motor vehicles, Kisan credit cards with credit limit of Rs 50,000, any member as a government employee and the ones paying income tax.