The Rajasthan government on Saturday issued an order to conduct a caste survey in the state. The order came just days after Bihar released the findings of its caste survey and ahead of the assembly polls in Rajasthan due later this year.

Rajasthan, ruled by the Congress, will be the second state in the country to conduct such a population count.

The order came just days after Bihar released the findings of its caste survey.

Rajasthan will be the second state in the country to conduct such a population count. The assembly polls in Rajasthan are due later this year and the election schedule is expected to be announced anytime soon.

According to the order, issued by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment after the state cabinet’s nod, the Rajasthan government will conduct the survey with its own resources for collecting information and figures related to social, economic and educational level of all its citizens.

The Department of Planning (Economic and Statistics) has been made the nodal department for the work. However, the order does not provide a time frame for the conduct of the population count.

Sharing a copy of the order for caste survey on its official ‘X’ account, the ruling party said, “The Congress government of Rajasthan will conduct a caste-based survey. Congress is working on its resolution of ‘whoever participates, so does his participation’.” A nationwide caste census is a key agenda of the opposition INDIA bloc, which believes it will help the alliance in the forthcoming elections in the Hindi heartland where caste politics plays a key role.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot told reporters that an order would be issued in this regard.

“We will conduct a survey. The order for this will be released immediately. It will be a survey. Census is done by the Government of India. It cannot be done by the state government. This is will be a survey of families to know their economic situation. This is our party’s commitment that we are taking forward,” Gehlot told reporters.

He also said that conducting such a survey takes time.

“It took one-and-a-half years in Bihar. We have taken a decision for a survey, which is a big thing. AICC (All India Congress Committee) in its Raipur convention had made a decision and we are taking it forward. We want that the economic status of every family should be known so that they get the benefits of government schemes in the future,” he said.

The chief minister said that the right to social security should be implemented in the entire country, for which such a survey of families was important.

Gehlot said Rajasthan will follow the model of Bihar.

“Arguments have been made (against a caste survey) in the Supreme Court. The decision has come in favour of Bihar government,” he said, referring to the legal challenge to the exercise in Bihar.

According to the official statement issued late night, determined for the all-round development of all sections, the Rajasthan government will conduct a caste-based survey with its own resources.

The state government will conduct a special study and implement special welfare measures and schemes to improve the condition of backwardness of various classes. This will improve the standard of living of all sections, it added.

According to the Rajasthan government order, the survey work will be carried out by the Planning (Economic and Statistics) Department as the nodal department.

Also, all the district collectors will be able to take the services of subordinate personnel of various departments at the municipality, city council, municipal corporation, village and panchayat levels for the survey.

The questionnaire will be prepared by the nodal department for the work. All those subjects will be mentioned in it, so that complete information about the social, economic and educational level of every person can be obtained, it stated.

The information and data obtained through the survey will be fed online.

For this, a separate special software and mobile app will be created by the Information Technology and Communication Department. The department will keep the information collected from the survey safe, it stated.

On October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar released the findings of its caste survey, which revealed that Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs) constituted a whopping 63 per cent of the state’s total population.

The Congress is a part of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc as well as the ruling coalition in Bihar.