SECC Census 2011-12 - An Update

Last year I wrote about the first ever socio-economic caste census (SECC) in the country. This time I am showing the other side off the story - In some part of the country, the Data Entry Operators (DEOs) are not fully paid for their hard work put in for around 1 year.

Govt of India started the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) on June 2011. It was done through a comprehensive door to door enumeration across the country with the help of DEOs. The planned end date was December 2011 but the entire process got delayed due to several reasons. As of now the overall completion rate is around 65% across the country.

While it’s almost a month since the socio-economic caste census (SECC) – 2011 work ended in some of the states, those who conducted the survey are worried, saying their payment was getting delayed.

In Kerala, the census concluded on June 15, and 99 per cent of the enumerators consisted of school teachers. The data entry operators for the work were deployed by a private firm named Rural Shores. These operators were paid Rs. 7,500 per person by the private firm within two weeks of the census completion, adding to the anguish of the rest of the men and women who had fanned out to the field. The enumerators were promised Rs. 18,000 while the supervisors were to get Rs. 24,000. A sum of Rs. 12,000 was promised for the charge officers, who undertook the overall supervision. 

In some part of Kolkata, Census operations came to a standstill as the DEOs went on strike demanding wage payment. WEBEL Technology, a Kolkata-based company and the service provider, is alleged to have not paid the wage to the DEOs even after completion of survey and data entry of 50 per cent of the households in the two blocks. Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), a Government of India concern, is providing logistic support for the census operation. ECIL not only failed to deliver the hand-held electronic device for data entry in time, but delayed selection of DEOs.

Status in other States
According to P P Mitra, the chief economic adviser in the Union Ministry of Rural Development, SECC enumeration is complete only in a few states such as Punjab, Haryana, Tripura and Himachal Pradesh while it is going on Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, and several other states. Its progress has been very slow in Maharashtra, West Bengal and Orissa, while the work has just started in Uttar Pradesh.

Mitra disclosed that SECC, launched in the country in June 2011 was likely to be complete across the country by December. Elections and other factors were delaying it in different states. "But we are happy with its progress, given the constraints and diversities it has to tackle. The national level progress in terms of enumeration for SECC was 65 per cent," he said.

Mitra confirmed that the cast data collected through SECC would not be published because of its sensitive nature. But the other socio-economic date would be available in public domain.