The government Tuesday released the first set of final data from the population enumeration (Census 2011) held in February 2011. Also called the Primary Census Abstract,it pegs the population of Scheduled Castes at 16.6 per cent and Scheduled Tribes at 8.6 per cent,together forming a quarter of the total population. The data comes out at a time when political parties are busy drawing up gameplan for the 2014 general elections.
In the period 2001-11,the SCs grew by 20.8 per cent and STs by 23.7 per cent. The data shows the total population has witnessed a decadal increase of 17.7 per cent to touch 1.21 billion. But this Census data will not have an effect on the demarcation of parliamentary constituencies because as per the 2002 amendment to Constitution there will be no delimitation till the first census after 2026.
The highest SC population,31.9 per cent of the states total number,is in Punjab. Lakshadweep has the highest proportion of STs at 94.8 per cent.
Besides the SC/ST figures,the Census data pegs the work participation rate at 39.8 per cent. More than 60 per cent of the population does not participate in any economic activity. The figures may seem alarming but then students and homemakers have been categorised as non-workers,along with dependents,pensioners and beggars.
At 51.9 per cent,Himachal Pradesh has the highest work participation rate and Delhi,at 33.3 per cent,is among the states with lowest rates. Cultivators and agricultural labourers (54.6 per cent) form over half the working population.