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Census of India 2021

  Aug 06, 2020

Census of India 2021

Why in news?

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the proposal for conducting Census of India 2021 at a cost of Rs. 8,754.23 crore and updation of National Population Register (NPR) at a cost of Rs. 3,941.35 crore. 

What is the census?

Census is nothing but a process of collecting, compiling, analyzing, evaluating, publishing and disseminating statistical data regarding the population. It covers demographic, social and economic data and are provided as of a particular date.

Census is the biggest source of primary data at village, town and ward level providing micro level data on various parameters including Housing Condition; Amenities & Assets, Demography, Religion, SC & ST, Language, Literacy & Education, Economic Activity, Migration and Fertility. The Census Act, 1948 and the Census Rules, 1990 provide the legal framework for conduct of Census.

Decennial Population Census is being conducted in India synchronously since 1872 without break. Census 2021 will be 16th Census in the country and 8th after independence. 

When was the first census in India held?

Census operations started in India long back during the period of the Maurya dynasty. It was systematized during the years 1865 to 1872, though it has been conducted uninterruptedly from the year 1881 being a trustworthy resource of information. 

Why is the census important?

1.The Indian Census is the most credible source of information on Demography (Population characteristics), Economic Activity, Literacy and Education, Housing & Household Amenities, Urbanisation, Fertility and Mortality, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Language, Religion, Migration, Disability and many other socio-cultural and demographic data since 1872. Census 2011 was the 15th National Census of the Country.

2.This is the only source of primary data in the village, town and ward level, It provides valuable information for planning and formulation policies for Central and the State Governments and is widely used by National and International Agencies, scholars, business people, industrialists, and many more.

3.The delimitation/reservation of Constituencies – Parliamentary/Assembly/Panchayats and other Local Bodies is also done on the basis of the demographic data thrown up by the Census. Census is the basis for reviewing the country’s progress in the past decade, monitoring the ongoing Schemes of the Government and most importantly, plan for the future. 

Who shall be the beneficiaries?

Census of India will cover the entire population in the country while NPR will also cover all the population except in the state of Assam. 

What are the other details regarding Census 2021?

The Indian Census is the largest administrative and statistical exercise in the world. The next decennial Census is due in 2021 and would be conducted in two phases:

  1. House listing and Housing Census - April to September, 2020 and
  2. Population Enumeration - 9th February to 28th February, 2021.

The National Population Register (NPR) will also be updated along with House listing and Housing Census except in Assam.

30 lakh field functionaries will complete this gigantic exercise of national importance, up from 28 lakh in 2011.

Use of mobile app for data collection and the Central portal for monitoring purpose will ensure early release of Census data with improved quality.

Data dissemination will be much better and in a user friendly way so that all the queries on required parameters for policy making will be made available on the click of a button.

Census-as-a-service (CaaS) will deliver on-demand data to ministries in a clean, machine-readable and actionable format. 

What will be the major impact of Census 2021?

Census is not a mere statistical exercise. The results will be made available to general public in a user-friendly manner.

All the data would be put for use of all stakeholders and users including Ministries, Departments, State Governments, research organisations etc.

Data sharing to all, up to the lowest Administrative Unit i.e. Village/Ward lev

Block level data of Enumeration to Delimitation Commission for delimitation of the Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies.

Census data is a powerful tool for public policy when combined with other administrative or survey data. Census-as-a-Service (CaaS) will deliver on-demand data to various Ministries/ State Governments and other stakeholders in a user friendly, machine readable and actionable format with facilities like dashboard etc.

One of the major outcomes of these two mammoth exercises will be direct as well as indirect employment generation across India including the far flung areas. This will be in addition to the payment of honorarium to Census functionaries for additional work undertaken by them for Census and NPR. Approximately 48,000 manpower will be engaged for about 2,900 days at the local levels.

In other words, around 2.4 crore man-days employment would be generated. Further, the provision of technical manpower at Charge/ District/ State level will also result in capacity building as the nature of the job will be related to data collection including digital mode and coordination. This will also help in future employment prospects of these persons. 

What will be the Implementation strategy and targets?

The Census process involves visiting each and every household and canvassing separate questionnaire for House listing and Housing Census and Population Enumeration.

The enumerators, generally government teachers and appointed by the State Governments, will be doing the work of NPR along with the Census in addition to their regular duties.

Other Census functionaries at Sub-district, District and State levels will also be appointed by the State/District Administration. 

What are new initiatives taken under Census 2021?

New initiatives taken for the Census 2021 are:

i. Use of Mobile App for the first time for data collection.      

ii. Census Monitoring & Management Portal as a single source for all officers/ officials involved in Census activities to provide multi language support.

iii. Facility of online self-enumeration for public during Population Enumeration phase. Code Directory to    record the descriptive responses saving time in processing of data.

iv. Transfer of honorarium etc. to the Census functionaries for the Census & NPR related work directly to their bank accounts using Public Financial Management System (PFMS) and Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) covering more than 60% of the total expenditure.

v. Qualitative training to 30 lakh field functionaries and utilising services of national/state level training institutes to prepare national and state level trainers.