Rural Development and Panchayti Raj Minister Jai Ram Thakur informed that the census work based on caste population, social, economic and caste based census of BPL families would be undertaken in two phases in the State. He said that this work would be undertaken between 12th October to 17th November, 2011 in Tribal Areas whereas from 14th November to 19th December, 2011 in Non Tribal Areas. The census based on social, economic and caste was being conducted in rural and urban areas jointly for the first time.

The Minister said that lists of persons belonging to BPL families would be prepared by making door to door visits and information would be gathered regarding caste, education qualification and socio-economic status. Thakur said that it would be taken up on Hand Held Electronic Device for bringing about accuracy and it would be based on AADHAR and National Population Register. He said that the information provided would be verified at Gram Sabha levels and added that maximum information would be provided publicly in a transparent manner. He said that this would ensure inclusion of eligible persons under the fold of various poverty alleviation programmes besides providing maximum benefits to the existing ones.

Jai Ram Thakur said that according to the data provided by the Planning Commission out of the total 22.9 percent BPL population in Himachal Pradesh, 25 percent BPL families resided in rural areas and 4.6 percent in urban areas. He said that out of 1182926 families 282370 rural families have been included in the BPL lists under the 10th five year plan, which was 23.87 percent of the total percentage of rural families. He said that this registered an increase of 1.13 percent in comparison to previous survey.

He said that the State Government was opposed to the decision of the criteria of Rs. 32 and Rs. 26 fixed per urban and rural areas for defining APL category and added that the State Government however supported the decision of Centre Government to review this matter. Chief Minister Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal had taken up this matter with the Vice-Chairman Planning Commission Shri Montek Singh Ahluwalia personally.

He said that Deputy Commissioners of respective districts have been notified as Principal Officers for socio-economic and caste based census 2011 and added that 175 date centres, 24893 census blocks have been formed for the purpose. He said that training would be imparted to the officers involved in the process. He said that 6223 Census Officers and 1140 observers would be appointed for the purpose.

Jai Ram Thakur said that certain parameters laid down for including poor families in the list were irrelevant for Himachal Pradesh. He said that conditions like families having Kissan Credit Card with 50 thousand or more limit, houses with pucca rofs, land line phones etc. were not practically applicable for the state as standard of living here was comparatively better then other states and the matter would be taken up with the Planning Commission for review. He said that those families who were living in kachha or one room houses or those families headed by female members with no male member between 16 to 59 years, SC and ST families, landless families who were daily wagers or families with illiterate members above 25 years would be given preference in the list.

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