Everything you wanted to know about census

“The biggest exercise of its kind in history” begins on April 1


Shivani Chaturvedi | March 31, 2010

Census 2011, the 15th national census will begin from April 1 when Home Minister P. Chidambaram will go to the Rashtrapati Bhavan at 10 am and President Pratibha Patil will fill up the first enumeration form.

While census takes place every decade, this time it will also involve the Unique ID project and the creation of a National Population Register.

Enumerators will fan out to every nook and corner of the country and take details from every single citizen – the number is estimated to be around 1.2 billion.

No wonder, the home minister has termed it the biggest such exercise in human history.

Here is a brief on this mammoth task: everything you wanted to know about census.

What is Census?

Census is an administrative exercise carried out by the government of India. It is the biggest source of data on demography, literacy and education, housing and household amenities, economic activity, urbanisation, fertility, mortality, language, religion and migration. It serves as primary data for planning and the implementation of policies of the central and state governments. It is also used for the purpose of reservation of constituencies for parliamentary, assembly and local body elections.

The first census in India was held in 1872. Since 1881, population censuses have been held every 10 years. Census 2011 will be the 15th census and seventh after Independence. Spread across 35 states and union territories, the census would cover 640 districts, 5,767 tehsils, 7,742 towns and more than six lakh villages. Enumerators will visit more than 24 crore households and take data from 1.20 billion people .

How is the census conducted?

The census is conducted in two phases. The first phase is called the house-listing and housing census. Census 2011 is to be conducted between April and July, depending on the convenience of different states/UTs. This operation is to be conducted over a period of 45 days in each state/UT. Thus a state starting the exercise on April 1 will complete it on May 15 and so on. The second phase of population enumeration will be conducted simultaneously all over the country during February 9-28, 2011.

In which places the exercise will start from April 1?

Central district Delhi, West Bengal, Assam, Goa, and Andaman and Nicobar islands.

What is different this time?

The government has decided to prepare a National Population Register (NPR) along with Census 2011. Collection of data on NPR will be done during the first phase of the census. The first phase also involves the canvassing of NPR schedule which will be digitised in two languages – English and the official language of every state/UT.

What is NPR?

NPR is an identity database of all “usual residents” in the country containing specific items of information of each individual in the country. NPR will help in creating a comprehensive identity database in the country. This would facilitate planning, better targeting of government schemes/programmes and also strengthen the security of the country. The total cost of the scheme is Rs 3,539.24 crore. This is for the first time that NPR is being prepared.

What is the methodology of preparing NPR?

The database will be built, maintained and updated by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. NPR will include the items of information such as the name of the person, father’s name, mother’s name, spouse’s name, sex, date of birth, place of birth, current marital status, education, nationality as declared, occupation, present address of usual resident and permanent residential address. The database will also contain photograph and finger biometry of persons above the age of 15 years. The draft local register of usual residents (LRUR) would be displayed in the villages in rural areas and wards in urban areas for inviting objections to matters like spellings in names, address and date of birth and also regarding residency status of any person enumerated. The draft LRUR will also be placed before the gram sabha or local bodies for authentication of usual residents. Once the database is finalised, the next task will be assigning every individual a Unique Identification Number (UID) by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Later this UID number will be added to the NPR database. It is proposed to issue an identity card, which will be a smart card with UID number printed on it and will include basic details like name, mother’s/father’s name, sex, date and place of birth and photograph. Complete details will be stored in the chip. I-cards will be first issued in coastal villages followed by the towns, cities in coastal areas and so on till the entire country is covered.

How will we benefit from NPR?

NPR would provide a standard identity database and facilitate the allotment of unique identification number to each individual, something like a permanent identifier. It will benefit the common man in many ways. We will not need to produce multiple documentary proofs of identity for availing government or private services like opening of a bank account. It will help in easy verification of an individual. The creation of an identity database would help enhance the targeting of various beneficiary oriented schemes of the government and non-governmental agencies. NPR would also serve the requirement of sprucing up tax collection. Moreover, there will not be any chances of duplication.



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