The Census of India is the most massive operation for compiling statistics anywhere in the world.
Some of this data forms an important base for planning the level of our economic and social activities and it constitutes an important input in the processes of planning and development.
The biggest Census exercise ever to be attempted in human history to cover India’s 1.2 billion population began on 1st April with President Pratibha Patil being the first to be enumerated in the decennial exercise.
The 15th National Census, which will see over 25 lakh officials capturing the socio-economic-cultural profile of its citizens, will also seek information for the creation of the National Population Register.
Spread across 35 States and Union Territories, the Census would cover 640 Districts, 5767 Tehsils, 7742 Towns and more than 6 lakhs villages. More than 24 crores households will be visited and 1.20 billion people enumerated during this exercise. Over 2.5 million people will be engaged to carry out this massive exercise. Around 12,000 Metric Tonnes of paper will be utilised for printing 64 crores Census Forms and 50 lakhs Instruction Manuals. The Census forms are printed in 16 languages and the Instruction Manuals in 18 languages
NGO’S TO BE INVOLVED
For the first time in India, non-government organisations (NGOs) will be involved in conducting the country’s 2011 census operation.
“Besides senior officials, renowned personalities from among the NGOs have been selected as national trainers in each state to provide training to other officials to conduct the enumeration of the census,
For the first time, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) would also help to create master trainers, who would educate the enumerators and supervisors to conducted the massive census operation.
NATIONAL REGISTER OF INDIAN CITIZENS
In the first phase of census 2011, data collection for creation of the first ever computerised National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC), along with house listing and housing census would be taken up .
These very critical and basic statistics of the NRIC would form the database of every Indian and these would be maintained by the Unique Identification of India (UID), a proposed system to be used as a means of uniquely identifying the residents in the country.
The preliminary census result would be declared March 25, 2011. District magistrates and collectors would be principal census officers (PCO) of the concerned district while sub-divisional magistrates and block development officers would be the sub-divisional census officers and charge census officers respectively.
All persons aged over 15 years will be photographed and fingerprinted to create a biometric national database. With this India will probably become the first democratic nation in the world which would have got its population fingerprinted.
The Indian census has a rich tradition and enjoys the reputation of being one of the best in the world. The first census in India was conducted in 1872 with a diverse schedule and separately in different regions. In 1981, a census was taken for the entire country simultaneously.
The 2011 census would be the 15th census since 1872 and the seventh census after India’s independence.
15th National Census exercise will cost around Rs. 2,209 crore while the expenditure on NPR will be Rs. 3,539.24 crore. The exercise will also consume more than 11 million tonnes of paper.
The enumerators for the first time will collect information like ownership of mobile phones, computers, internet, having treated or untreated drinking water facility and usage of banking services. The government has already said that no information will be collected on castes as no caste-based census has ever been conducted in independent India.
The Intelligent Character Recognition Software (ICR) that was pioneered by India in Census 2001 has become the benchmark for Censuses all around the globe. This involves the scanning of the Census Forms at high speed and extracting the data automatically using computer software.
A HISTORICAL LANDMARK
Indian Census has been the most credible source of information on Demography, Economic Activity, Literacy and Education, Housing and Household Amenities, Urbanization, Fertility and Mortality, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Language, Religion, Migration, Disability and many other socio-cultural and demographic data since 1872.
The Census process involves visiting each and every household and gathering particulars by asking questions and filling up Census Forms. The information collected about individuals is kept absolutely confidential. In fact this information is not accessible even to Courts of law. This provision is there to encourage people to give correct information in Census without any fear.
It will be conducted in two phases; the first phase is called the Houselisting and Housing Census. This is to be conducted between April and July, depending on the convenience of different States/UTs and over a period of 45 days in each State/UT.
The second phase called the Population Enumeration phase will be conducted simultaneously all over the country from the 9th to 28th of February 2011.
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.
The Houselisting and Housing Census will provide comprehensive data on the conditions of human settlements, housing deficit and consequently the housing requirement to be taken care of in the formulation of housing policies.
It’s a statutory exercise conducted under the provisions of the Census Act 1948 and Census Rules, 1990. Under the Statute it has been made mandatory that the fullest cooperation of not only the Government and its staff but also the public at large be given for a successful conduct of operations. Failure to do so can invite adverse consequences including fines and punishments.