The Karnataka government carried out a massive socio-economic caste census in 2015, but now questions are being raised on the data that the survey has thrown up. The numbers do not match with previous records of the government when it comes to caste certificates and identity. While the motive of the census itself was questioned when it began, contradictory data simply implies that data collected could be bogus and twisted to suit political needs.
Documents accessed by OneIndia reveal that the data is in stark contrast in comparison to data available with Tahsildar and revenue department offices, those that sanction the caste certificate in the first place. The caste census data is grossly exaggerated when it comes to number of people of a particular caste in a region. Documents from just one village, Medahalli, in Chitradurga speaks volumes of how contradictory the census data is.
The tahsildar office (nad kacheri)that processes caste certificates has issued it for 1395 persons only. The caste census survey however records 6357 persons to have caste certificates. Out of the 6,357 persons that the survey declared as having possession of caste certificate, only 360 names matched with records from the revenue as well as tahsildar office records. This data is just from one village and one district.
Activists now allege that the entire survey seems bogus. Over 80 per cent caste certificate holders could not be verified or even found in government records. The survey then becomes disqualified to mark caste composition. The revenue department's door to door survey provides more accurate information since it is also the department that issues caste certificates.
The exhaustive information provided by the government's own department was disregarded to make way for the socio-economic caste census. With numbers not matching on any front, suspicion that the entire exercise was merely a political appeasement plan is being raised.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in his maiden budget speech of 2013 stated that benefits and reservations will be based on the data that the caste census throws up. The first of its kind survey in 8 decades was aimed at going door to door to collect information on economic status, caste, educational qualifications, assets, benefits reaped of the entire population of Karnataka. A whooping Rs 175 crore was the budget allocated to the census.