Early this month, the controversy generated with the release of data on religion by Census of India has finally taken its toll as the Registrar General of India and Census Commissioner, who is of the rank of Joint Secretary in the Central Government, J.K. Banthia has been removed from his post. After the BJP'scomment on the unprecedented growth rate of Muslims (36%) in the country, the Left-led Congress party started raising the secular bogey. Even later, as part of a damage control exercise, the Census Commissioner came up with a plea for not adding Assam in the 1981 Census and Jammu and Kashmir in the 1991 Census. By then, it was too late as Sonia Gandhi summoned Central Home Minister, Shivraj Patil, as office of Registrar General of India and Census Commissioner comes under his ministry, for an explanation about this so-called goof up. But finally it was only after Sonia'sstatement during her Rae Bareily visit for an enquiry that Banthia was removed. Again, a perfect example of a remote control-run government without a leader whose power centre is not Prime Minister but a person outside the government.
The large claims of UPA government regarding the right to information and transparency about governance were proven totally hollow in regard to the controversy raised over the extraordinary growth rate of Muslims in the country, a conclusion derived from the 2001 Census report on religion. With the public announcement of the latest Census report, the office of Registrar General of India and Census Commissioner placed the data on religion on its official website www.censusofindia.nic.in. But with controversy taking a political shape, the Census Commissioner updated the site with revised conclusions on Assam and Jammu and Kashmir to show the Muslim population growth rate from 36 per cent to 29 per cent. For this, it also placed a power point presentation on the site.
But it was just one side of the story. When Rambler clicked the site, it found that, smartly but quietly, the government had removed about 1,600 pages of data from the site; earlier a districtwise breakup, in the Excel format, of the whole country was available on the site. But now there are only about 80-odd pages with national and state-level breakups. And more importantly, there is no explanation from the Census Commissioner´s office about this self-styled censorship as such data are very important for policy makers and research students of geography and demography.
Education is a new catchword for the people of Haryana. It is not too long ago when the identity of the state was attached with its achievement in agriculture. But since the late 90s, education has became a buzzword for parents all over the state as the average household in Haryana is now spending more on its children'seducation. According to the latest figures, the share of education in per capita monthly consumption expenditure in urban Haryana has increased from 4.7 per cent in 1998 to 8.3 per cent in 2002. In real terms, it has increased three times from Rs 28 to Rs 86.40. In recent years, there is a good amount of increase in expenditure of rural households too on children'seducation. In rural areas, the education share in monthly consumption expenditure has increased from 4 per cent in 1998 to 4.9 per cent in 2002, which is even more than the national average of 2.6 per cent. Not only this, the average monthly consumption expenditure on education per person in villages in Haryana has increased from 21.9 per cent in 1998 to 34.8 per cent in 2000, whereas in cities it increased from 28 per cent in 1998 to 86.4 per cent in 2000.