The Union Home Ministry announced that that Census of 2021 will for the first time in the history of independent India, collect OBC data. The announcement, made by Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh and a subsequent statement released by the statement suggests that exercise will make use of improvements in census design and data collection and technological interventions will ensure that the data is finalized within three years of 2021.
This announcement comes 25 years after the reservations for OBC’s (Other Backward Classes) was implemented on the basis of the recommendations of the Mandal Commission. The commission’s reports, which were sought to be implemented by the V.P Singh government in 1990, were met by vehement protests across India until it was finally implemented by the P.V Narsimha Rao government in 1992.
The move is likely to satisfy the demands of several political parties and communities who have long requested for the census to include OBC-specific data. The last such census was way back in 1931, conducted by the British.
With the elections in 2019 looming, the move is likely to bolster the ruling government’s pro-backward caste credentials. The NDA government had also over the past few years, given a constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes, in a move meant to appease the significant OBC population across India.
The 2021 Census is likely to be the world’s biggest ever citizen-count and is set to use latest maps and techniques for geo-referencing to ensure the highest accuracy in data collection.