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Nearly 60% of rural Indian population is “deprived”: Census
July 4, 2015, 5:31 am

The census had some grim figures for India’s poor and landless [Xinhua]

The census had some grim figures for India’s poor and landless [Xinhua]

India on Friday released figures of what it claims is the world’s biggest census that it hopes will help plug wastage in government welfare schemes, boost tax revenue and define consumers more clearly.

The census had some grim figures for India’s poor and landless.

Nearly 40 per cent of Indian rural households are landless and derive a major part of their income from manual, casual labour.

Only 4.6 per cent of all rural households in the country pay income tax.

Over one-third of Indian population living in rural areas is illiterate and 23.5 per cent of rural households have no literate adults above the age of 25.

Nearly 60 per cent of India’s rural population in 2011 qualify for “deprivation” estimated through the yardstick of seven socio-economic parameters.

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley released the findings of the “Socio Economic and Caste Census 2011” in New Delhi on Friday.

More than two million census workers covered an estimated 1.2 billion people, defining them in demographic, socio-cultural and economic terms, including such parameters as mobile phone and Internet usage and banking access.

A meager 11.04 per cent of rural households have a refrigerator while 70 per cent own cell phones.

This was also the first socio-economic and caste census in India since 1934 although the caste data has not been made pubic yet and only Indian lawmakers at the Parliament in Delhi will have access to the data.

Caste systems are common in much of south-east Asia. Castes divide people into social groupings; those in the lowest castes are regarded as unclean and are often forced into unpleasant and dangerous work like manual scavenging.

The census findings released on Friday said 180,657 people in rural India are still being forced to clean human excreta from dry toilets and open drains, despite a ban on the discriminatory and undignified practice.

The census in the world’s second-most populous country is held every 10 years. China, with a population of 1.3 billion, also has a census every 10 years.

With about two-thirds of the Indian population in hard-to-reach rural areas, the census is the main source of data for everyone from manufacturers of cars and marketers of toothpaste to government officials planning and implementing key programs.



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