Only 11,000 of 24.4 lakh refused to register caste

PMC area

Poor reflection on progressive-city tag, say activists

The caste-based Census shows only around 11,000 citizens of the 24.44 lakh population in Pune city used the option to refuse to register themselves by any caste. Activists said this has put a question mark on Pune's reputation as a progressive city. They, however, blamed the civic administration in their failure to create awareness on the option of not registering caste.

The headcount during Phase-I in Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) jurisdiction was 31.15 lakh, while Phase-II, the caste-based Census, had the final figure of 24.44 lakh. The difference raised concern.

The civic administration cited closed houses and migrating population as major reasons for the discrepancy. Another reason cited was 11,000 residents of 2,865 houses refusing to divulge information on caste.

"There was an option of not revealing caste and accordingly anyone refusing to give information was registered as refusing to give caste details," said Deputy Municipal Commissioner Mangesh Joshi.

The information of caste of each citizen along with those refusing to share details would be registered in Census records, he said adding that reasons for anyone not sharing caste information could be anything and the civic administration had nothing to do with it.

"We don't know the reasons as staff on Census duty was not directed to gather the reasons," Joshi said.

Civic activist Vivek Velankar said the poor number of those not revealing their information on caste was shocking. "Many citizens in Pune are quite progressive and do not believe in caste system. About 11,000 citizens refusing to use the option seems very less and it should have been much more," he said.

"Lack of awareness by civic administration on availability of option of not revealing caste status might be a reason as not many citizens, including me, were aware of these option," Velankar said adding that he too would not have given the information as he does not give importance to caste.

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