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Census reveals grim picture of Bharat

One out of three families landless,

less than 5% rural households pay income tax


New Delhi, July 3:  Reiterating the lopsided India story, the Socio Economic and Caste Census on rural areas revealed that one out of three families is landless, less than 5 per cent of the rural households pay income tax, but over 68 per cent have mobile phones.

Released on Friday, the result of the first such Census in independent India— the last one was conducted in 1932 — did not include caste-specific data despite the title saying so.

“I am sure that with the enormity of schemes and the reach that all governments have, this document will form the basis of helping us to target groups to support in terms of policy planning,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while releasing the report in the presence of Rural Development Minister Chaudhry Birender Singh. The paperless Census was carried out in all the 640 districts of the country with the help of a handheld device.

It said that of the total 24.39 crore households in the country, 17.91 crore are in rural areas. Of the rural households, 18.46 per cent belong to a Scheduled Caste and 10.97 per cent to a Schedule Tribe while 68.5 per cent belong to ‘other categories’. Interestingly, over 36.5 lakh families (a little over 2 per cent) belong to no caste or tribe category.

Five States with a high percentage of rural SC households are Punjab, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. On sources of income, the Census says 5 per cent of the households draw government salaries, over 3.57 per cent relied on the private sector, and little over 1 per cent of households on public sector enterprises.

However, the bad news is that over 6.85 crore households (38.27 per cent) hold no land, deriving a major part of their income from casual manual labour. Also, the number of households with destitutes or those living on alms is over 6.68 lakh; as many as 4.08 lakh households rely on rag-picking.


Earning members

While for almost two-thirds of the rural households the top earning member got less than Rs. 5,000 a month, in over 1.48 crore (8.29 per cent) households, the top earner brought home more than Rs. 10,000 a month.

The Census also gave a glimpse of the rural market, with one out of every five families owning a motorised vehicle (two/three/four-wheeler or a fishing boat).

On the use of the report, Jaitley said it will help assess “who are the ones who have qualitatively moved up in terms of quality of life and who are the ones in terms of geographical regions, social groupings which need to be targeted.”

Rural Development Minister Birender Singh said: “The data are an opportunity to make evidence-based selection, prioritisation and targeting of beneficiaries in different programmes.”

The Rural Development Ministry has decided to use the SECC data in all its programmes.

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