NEW DELHI: Amid the raging controversy over the caste census data and the Opposition demand to make it public, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday directed the states to rectify the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) data which has over 1.45 Crore errors.
According to an MHA official, the errors relating to the caste particulars were noted during the review of the data on July 16 and at least 8.19 crore errors were communicated to the states and the UTs. Of these, 6.73 crore errors were rectified. However 1.45 crore errors are yet to be corrected by the states.
In Tamil Nadu caste census data, around 1.4 lakh errors were found by the Centre during the review while 2.9 lakh errors were found in Karnataka data.
Maximum errors appeared in Maharashtra caste census data with 69.1 lakh followed by Madhya Pradesh with 13.9 lakh errors and West Bengal 11.6 lakh errors.
“It emerged that 46.73 lakh distinct caste names have been returned in the SECC data.
These include caste, sub-caste names, synonyms, surnames, clan-gothra names, phonetic variations, sections, sub-groups etc. These will have to be classified by experts having domain knowledge on these issues,” the MHA official said.
Though, data related to socio-economic features of households in the rural areas was released by the Centre on July 3, caste census data related to urban areas was held back.
In 2011, the erstwhile UPA Government had decided that the data collection under SECC would be done by state governments with the financial and technical support of the Central government.
The Rural Development Ministry and Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation were designated as the nodal ministries in the Centre.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the formation of an expert group to classify and categorise the caste data under the chairmanship of Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairperson of Niti Aayog.
The members of the expert group would be finalised by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in consultation with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
The MHA official clarified that in the meantime, classification of available caste data will be taken up by the expert group.