Act fast on caste census, centre tells states

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) The central government has asked chief ministers to expedite work related to Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) 2011 that would help identify eligible beneficiaries for its ambitious food security programme.

"The draft list from the SECC is to be ready at the earliest for putting up in the public domain and for being made available for claims and objections at the gram panchayat level," Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said in letters to all state chief ministers.

The ministry has asked states to instruct officials to speed up the process.

"The centre believes that the implementation of food security is crucially linked to the identification of households and it wants an expeditious completion of the survey," an official said Tuesday.

The government started conducting SECC for the first time June 30, 2011. The exercise was carried out by state governments with financial and technical support from the centre.

The exercise, which was supposed to end December 31, 2011, is expected to to completed by this September.

The food security legislation, once enacted, will give the nation's three-fourth population the right to get five kg of foodgrains every month at highly subsidised rates of Rs.1 to Rs.3 per kg.

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