[email protected]
New Delhi, 14 November
Having spent Rs 3200 crore on the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) and already far behind the December 2011 deadline, the government is clueless about the roadmap of the ambitious project, even as the PSUs whose services were enlisted for survey have asked for enhanced payment. 
“The PSUs who supplied technical equipment for enumeration exercise have sought an additional amount of over 12 per cent on their expenditure on account of service tax from the Rural Development ministry,” an official said.
“We have no money left now, Rs 3200 crore has been spent out of Rs 3543 crore… the ministry will seek special Cabinet approval for additional funds; but all kinds of doubts about the deadline persist,” he said.
The delay in completing the survey is definitely an issue as the entire data relating to the identification of poor households was also intended to be utilised in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-13 to 2016-17).
“The RD ministry now proposes to seek additional funds of Rs 450 crore. Besides the payment for PSUs, government needs extra money to be incurred for carrying out the exercise of verification, correction of the data gathered during the enumeration process, etc,” sources said.
Officials in the rural development ministry feel SECC work has lately got duplicated with the National Population Register (NPR), which was not envisaged earlier. Finance officials in the ministry, however, said “technically, it will not be difficult to seek additional funds as the time to seek funds and get revised budget estimates for all ministries is round the corner”.
The SECC in all likelihood would now be completed only in the next financial year and probably after the Lok Sabha polls. States have been asked to publish their draft enumeration lists at the gram sabha levels at the earliest.
Several states like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Assam are lagging behind.   The process of claims and objections would be given about 90 days for completion.
However, five poll-bound states ~ Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Mizoram ~ can publish the draft lists only after the state elections are over.