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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 01 February, 2021

  • 15 Min Read

Census to postpone to 2022?

Census to postpone to 2022?

  • The Centre is on track to push the 2021 Census to 2022 on account of the country’s continuing preoccupation with the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior government official told The Hindu.
  • “Our hands are full dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic,” the official said, pointing out that first it was the measures taken to deal with the pandemic and now the massive vaccination programme under way across the country.

What is the Census of India?

  • The decennial Census of India has been conducted 15 times, as of 2011.
  • While it has been undertaken every 10 years, beginning in 1872 under British Viceroy Lord Mayo, the first complete census was taken in 1881.
  • Post-1949, it has been conducted by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
  • All the censuses since 1951 were conducted under the 1948 Census of India Act.
  • The last census was held in 2011, whilst the next will be held in 2021.
  • The Census of India, one of the largest exercises of its kind, enumerates and collects demographic and socio-economic information on the Indian population.

About Census 2021

  • Census exercise will be conducted in February 2021. It will have the facility of self enumeration.
  • The Census exercise was to be conducted in two phases —
  1. Phase 1: House Listing and Housing Census from April to September 2020 and
  2. Phase 2: Population Enumeration from February 9 to February 28, 2021.
  • The first phase of the Census and the updating of the National Population Register (NPR) were initially to be rolled out in some States on April 1, 2020, but were postponed due to the pandemic.

Prelims Pointers for Census 2021

  • 1st time data would be stored in electronically and 1st time OBC will be collected.
  • The Census 2021 will be conducted in 18 languages out of the 22 scheduled languages (under 8th schedule) and English, while Census 2011 was in 16 of the 22 scheduled languages declared at that time.
  • It also will introduce a code directory to streamline the process
  • The option of “Other” under the gender category will be changed to “Third Gender”. There were roughly 5 lakh people under “other” category in 2011.
  • For the first time in the 140 year history of the census in India, data is proposed to be collected through a mobile app by enumerators and they will receive an additional payment as an incentive.
  • The Census data would be available by the year 2024-25 as the entire process would be conducted digitally and data crunching would be quicker.

Why the Census is important?

  • Enumerating, describing and understanding the population of a society and what people have access to, and what they are excluded from, is important not only for social scientists but also for policy practitioners and the government.
  • It is also important for the Delimitation exercise.
  • It gives data on the Citizens of India which is important to plan tailormade schemes for bottom up planning and analyse the issues more closely that is going on in the country.
  • Since Data is a public good, it is important that such data if used in an optimum way can bring equity in the most vulnerable sections of the society and especially those people who have been affected by the COVID Pandemic.
  • It can also be used to analyse the Demographic attributes of India and work accordingly.

Challenges in Census Exercises

  • However, as early as the 1940s, W.W.M. Yeatts, Census Commissioner for India for the 1941 Census, had pointed out that, “the census is a large, immensely powerful, but blunt instrument unsuited for specialised enquiry”.
  • This point has also surfaced in later critiques offered by scholars who consider the Census as both a data collection effort and a technique of governance, but not quite useful enough for a detailed and comprehensive understanding of a complex society.
  • As historian and anthropologist Bernard Cohn had demonstrated, the Census may in fact produce an imagination of society, which suggests the epistemological complexities involved.

For complete analysis of Census and SECC: click here

Source: TH


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