SECC not irrelevant just yet

Although the SECC’s objectives are not likely to be met, it is a big step towards providing accurate information on the well-being of the people.

The release of data for rural households from the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) is only the latest step in India’s tortured history of trying to count its poor. The idea behind the SECC was technocratic. Commissioned by the United Progressive Alliance in 2011, it was meant to canvass every Indian family, both in rural and urban India, and ask about their economic status so as to allow Central and State authorities to come up with a range of indicators of deprivation, permutations and combinations of which could be used by each authority to define a poor or deprived person. It was also meant, for the first time since 1931, to ask every person their specific caste name to allow the government to re-evaluate which caste groups were economically worst off and which were better off. As it happens, neither of those objectives is likely to be served.

The feeling was that the current definition of poverty — which was derived by identifying a basket of essential goods and services and marking the point in India’s income distribution where that basket could be purchased by an individual — was missing too much.............Read more


Source: The Hindu

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