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OBC Survey Begins

Bhubaneswar: The much-awaited survey of social and educational conditions of people belonging to 208 backward castes was kicked off in the State on Monday.  The survey will continue across the State till May 27.

The social and educational conditions of 208 OBC communities enlisted by the state government will be collected during the survey, which will be followed by a special drive to ensure that none were left out across the state, an official said.

The survey is being done to collect information with a questionnaire on the kind of houses they live in, their livelihoods, access to infrastructure, hospitals, schools, markets, colleges, etc.

Odisha is the second state in the country after Bihar to hold the OBC survey.

The survey is being conducted with an aim to find out the social and educational status of backward classes. It is crucial for focused planning for their socio-economic development. The survey data would help us plan for the OBC (Other Backward Classes) better, said State SC, ST Development, Minorities and Backward Classes Welfare Minister Jagannath Sarka.

The survey will be carried out by the Odisha State Commission for Backward Classes in all 314 blocks and 114 civic bodies areas in the State, an official said.

The state government in its notification said the survey will be carried out under the powers conferred by section 9 of the Odisha State Commission for Backward Classes (OSCBC) Act, 1993 and OSCBC (Amendment) Act, 2020.

Meanwhile, politics over the fire-ever OBC survey gained momentum in the State.

State BJP’s OBC cell President Surath Biswal said many people working outside the state would be excluded from the survey as they may not be internet-savvy enough to log into a portal created for it and submit their particulars.

He said many castes have been excluded from the State’s Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) list. “The present SEBC list is not a final one. At present, the names of at least 20 castes are on the OBC list of the Central Government but not on the state SEBC list.”

He added castes on the central list should automatically be included on the State OBC list. “But that has not happened. If the names of people from these castes are not on the SEBC list, what kind of survey is it?”

“When it has been in the discussion that the 24-year-old State Government has refrained 54 percent of people from exercising their constitutional rights, the government has announced that the OBC survey will begin from today. But it is nothing but a farce,” said Shri Biswal.

“As election is nearing, the BJD Government is doing drama to woo the OBC voters. We, the OBC, have remained backward as the Government is providing adequate reservation to us in employment.” Said Congress Lawmaker Suresh Kumar Routray.

The survey is being conducted in both online and offline modes. In offline mode, heads of the families or any senior person can provide family data at the survey counters set up at Anganwadi centers and schools. Anganwadi workers and teachers have been engaged as enumerators.

In Bhubaneswar, the survey is underway at 101 centres set up at 70 schools. One can include his/her name by showing a voter identity card, passport, PAN card or AADHAAR card. The Nodal Officer and the Mayor have been doing rounds of the centres.