Updated: September 29, 2021 12:10:32 pm
Amid calls for a caste census come findings that 44.4 percent of 17.24 crore rural households in the country are from Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and that OBC households are in a majority across rural areas of seven states — Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh — which together send 235 Lok Sabha members to Parliament.
The data is part of Situation Assessment of Agricultural Households and Land Holdings of Households in Rural India, 2019, a survey conducted by the National Statistical Office of the Ministry of Programme Implementation and Statistics, whose results were released earlier this month. The data is for agricultural year 2018-19 — the agriculture year in India is from July to June the following year.
The data shows that of an estimated 17.24 crore rural households, 44.4% were OBCs; 21.6% Scheduled Castes (SC); 12.3% Scheduled Tribes (ST) and 21.7% other social groups. Of the total rural households, 9.3 crore or 54% are agricultural households.
The highest proportion of rural OBC households is in Tamil Nadu (67.7%) and the lowest in Nagaland (0.2%). Apart from Tamil Nadu, in six states — Bihar (58.1%), Telangana (57.4%), Uttar Pradesh (56.3%), Kerala (55.2%), Karnataka (51.6%), Chhattisgarh (51.4%) — OBC households account for more than half of the rural households. These states are politically crucial as they account for 235 members in the 543-member Lok Sabha.
Besides, four states — Rajasthan (46.8%), Andhra Pradesh (45.8%), Gujarat (45.4%) and Sikkim (45%) — have a higher share of rural OBC households than the all-India figure of 44.4%. In all, 17 states – Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Haryana, Assam, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Tripura, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland – have a lower share of rural OBCs households when compared to the national average.
The survey findings show that out of the estimated 9.3 crore agricultural households, 45.8% are OBCs; 15.9% SCs; 14.2% STs and 24.1% from other social groups.
The survey also provides data on average monthly income (based on ‘paid out expenses’ approach) per agricultural household. While the average monthly income of a farm household at the all-India level stood at Rs 10,218 during agriculture year 2018-19, it was lower for OBC agricultural households (Rs 9,977), SC households (Rs 8,142), ST households (Rs 8,979). Agricultural households of ‘Other Social Groups’, however, recorded an average monthly income of Rs 12,806.
For states, the average monthly income per agricultural household in the OBC category ranged between Rs 5,009 and Rs 22,384 during agriculture year 2018-19. Of the 23 states, for which the income data is available, Uttarakhand recorded the highest average monthly income per OBC agricultural household, while Odisha (Rs 5,009) was at the bottom.
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