Census 2021: Put off due to COVID-19
Part of: Prelims and GS – II – Government policies and interventions
In news Owing to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, Census 2021 and other Census-related field activities have been postponed until further orders.
- The forthcoming Census is to be the first digital Census and there is a provision for self-enumeration.
- Self-enumeration refers to completion of census survey questionnaires by the respondents themselves.
- A mobile application for data collection and a Census portal for managing and monitoring various Census related activities have been developed.
What is Census?
- In Census ( decennial census), data is collected on demographic and various socio-economic parameters like education, SC/ST, religion, language, marriage, fertility, disability, occupation and migration of the individuals.
- Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India under Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India is responsible for carrying out the census.
- It provides information on size, distribution and socio-economic, demographic and other characteristics of the country’s population.
- The first synchronous census in India was held in 1881. Since then, censuses have been undertaken uninterruptedly once every ten years.
- As per the official Gazette, the individual data collected in Census under the Census Act, 1948, are not made public as per the provisions contained in the Act.
- The individual data are not used for the preparation of any other database, including the National Register of Citizens.
- Only the aggregated Census data at various administrative levels are released.
What are the Benefits of Census?
- Evidence based Policy Making: 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.
- Ensures Equity in Governance: Since Independence, aggregated Census data on the SCs & STs on certain parameters such as education have been collected. This data will help the government to remedy inequalities present in the society.
- Delimitation Exercise: Delimitation Commission sets up boundaries of electoral constituencies based on the data obtained from decennial census
- Developmental Purposes: Businesses use census data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores, and this creates jobs. Developers use the census to build new homes and revitalize old neighbourhoods.
- Cooperative Federalism: Central government funds, grants and support to states and local governments consider population totals and breakdowns by sex, age, caste and other factors.
- Civic Participation in Governance: Commenting on the 1941 Census, Census Commissioner Yeatts observed that, “Thanks to the acute interest in community figures, practically all communities this time were census-conscious and took pains to see that their houses were in the list and that they themselves were counted.” Census thus ensures that Democracy is participative in nature.
News Source: The Hindu