What is Census?
- Population Census is the total process of collecting, compiling, analyzing or otherwise disseminating demographic, economic and social data pertaining, at a specific time, of all persons in a country or a well-defined part of a country.
- As such, the census provides snapshot of the country's population and housing at a given point of time.
- Responsible agency:The Census is conducted by the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
- Duration: It is done every 10 years.
- First and last Census: The census was first conducted in 1872 during the British rule. The last census was done in 2011.
- First complete census: It was done in 1881.
The Census Act, 1948
The Census Act was enacted in 1948 to provide for the scheme of conducting population census with duties and responsibilities of census officers.
Why is census conducted?
- Census is the basis for reviewing the country's progress in the past decade, monitoring the ongoing schemes of the government and the impact they have had on the government and plan the future course of action.
- It provides detailed and authentic information on demography, economic activity, literacy and education, housing and household amenities, urbanisation, fertility and mortality, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, language, religion, migration, disability and many other socio-cultural and demographic data.
When was the last census in India conducted?
- Last census in India was conducted in the year 2011.
- The census exercise of the current decade has not been started and postponed due to the spread of Corona pandemic.
- The upcoming census will be India’s first digital census, though data will be collected during this exercise in both digital and paper format.
- Collection of data for compilation of National Population Registry will also be part of Census 2021 exercise.
What is National Population Registry?
- The NPR is a register of usual residents of the country.
- It will be mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR. It includes both Indian citizens as well as a foreign citizen.
- The objective of the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country.
- The first National Population Register was prepared in 2010 and updating this data was done during 2015 by conducting door to door survey.
- The next update of the NPR will take place in April to September of 2023 with the Houselisting phase of the Census 2021.
- National Population Registry is prepared at the local (Village/sub-Town), sub-District, District, State and National level under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
What changes have been notified by the Central Government in the Census Rules, 1990?
- Clause C of Rule 2 of Census Rules, 1990 was amended to include terms “electronic form” and “self-enumeration”.
How are these terms defined in the amended Census Rules?
- Electronic Form: The amended rules state that it has the same meaning as clause (r) of section 2(1) of Information Technology Act, 2000.
Definition of Electronic Form under Information Technology Act, 2000: "electronic form", with reference to information, means any information generated, sent, received or stored in media, magnetic, optical, computer memory, micro film, computer generated micro fiche or similar device.
- Self-Enumeration: filling, completion, and submission of the census schedule by respondents themselves.
What will be the impact of the above changes on the upcoming census exercise?
- It will allow the Central Government to capture and store census related data in electronic format.
- Self-enumeration would facilitate the respondent to answer the questionnaire scheduled to be asked on their own.
Which other amendments have also been done in Census Rules, 2020?
- In Rule 5, the word “media” has been replaced with “electronic or any other media”. This would enable change regarding how the Census statistics should be published.
- Change has also been brought to Rule 8 to widen the medium through which publicity for the census exercise could be conducted. Earlier, this list of modes only included radio, audio-visuals, and posters. Now, “print media, electronic media, and social media”, are also added to the list.