June 9, 2010

India’s Census and the Caste Question

Government leaders in India have agreed that the nation’s 2011 census could include a tally of castes, the complex structure of traditional social classes that last were officially measured in 1931. Those caste numbers are the basis of quotas for government employment and university enrollment, and help determine spending on social welfare programs. A council of government ministers is now developing a plan that may implement the count.

As this Associated Press story indicates, the caste system is not as dominant as it once was, but still has clout. The proposal to add the caste question to the national census remains controversial, according to a Global Post account.