Representatives of communities such as Backward Classes (BC), Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) asked the Andhra Pradesh government to conduct a comprehensive caste survey by gathering information on socioeconomic conditions of these people since caste data alone would not serve any purpose.
Their opinions and objections assumed significance in the backdrop of the government’s plan to conduct a caste survey between November 27 and December 3 across the district.
Telugu Desam Party BC Sadhikara Committee convener and Kalinga Vysya community’s State honorary president Boina Govindarajulu told The Hindu on Sunday that a week was not sufficient for collecting the relevant data and that it could lead to injustice to their community.
“Many Kalinga Vysya community people are living in different places and their actual population details cannot be collected properly if the survey teams are given only one week’s time,” he said. “Apart from the caste details, the government has to collect the data of their income sources, jobs and movable and immovable property to arrive at the correct data on the poor. In the absence of such an exercise, the same families would not get benefits of welfare schemes and reservation facilities for generations,” he added.
National Backward Classes Welfare Association’s State Secretary Badana Devabhusanam said that the teams must interact with leaders of all communities in the respective villages for obtaining accurate information. He urged the government to increase the duration for the survey so that more people would be able to register their opinions. He said that details of sub-castes had to be collected since their population was very less in many areas.
Ambedkar India Mission’s State leader Taekwando Srinu alleged that the officials were hiding SC population details whenever a survey was done in Srikakulam municipal corporation limits. “The Scheduled Castes population was shown as 10,800 in 2011 and its number was reduced to 5,600 in 2013.” He alleged that the ‘wrong statistics’ would lead to denial of political opportunities and other benefits for SC families in municipal limits. “So, the government authorities should collect accurate data of Dalit communities,” he added.
Meanwhile, Srikakulam Collector Shrikesh Lathkar and Joint Collector M. Naveen directed survey teams to maintain secrecy over the collected data. Mr. Naveen asked them not to take screenshots and photostat copies of caste certificates and other documents.