Decennial Census Exercise Postponed

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    • Recently, the Union government informed States that the decennial census exercise has been postponed till September 2023 and the date of freezing of administrative boundaries has been extended till June 30, 2023.

    More about Census

    • Census is a process of collecting, compiling, analyzing, evaluating, publishing and disseminating statistical data regarding the population.
    • India will soon begin preparations for what is one of the world’s largest head-count exercises.
    • The Census is the enumeration of the population of the country and it is being conducted at an interval of 10 years. 
    • It was first started under British Viceroy Lord Mayo in 1872. 
    • The first synchronous census in India was held in 1881. 
    • Who conducts this exercise?
      • The responsibility of conducting the decennial Census rests with the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
    • Structure of data:
      • In the 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.
    • 2011 marks the first time biometric information was collected. 

    Significance

    • The Census gives us a clear picture of who India is– its demography, how they live, what they do and is the basis on which key policies are formulated. 
    • It helps in framing government programs to uplift areas of improvement in the community.
    • It is also the basis for reviewing the country’s progress in the past decade, monitoring the ongoing schemes of the government and planning for the future.

    Ancient-Medieval practice of population counting:

    • The earliest literature ‘Rig-Veda’ reveals that some kind of population count was maintained during 800-600 BC in India.
    • The celebrated ‘Arthashastra’ by ‘Kautilya’ written in the 3rd Century BC prescribed the collection of population statistics as a measure of state policy for taxation. 
    • During the regime of the Mughal king Akbar, the administrative report ‘Ain-e-Akbari’ included comprehensive data pertaining to population, industry, wealth and many other characteristics.

    Difference between the National Population Register (NPR) and the Census 

    • The process of NPR and Census will begin simultaneously, the two databases are not the same.
    • The decennial census is the largest single source of a variety of statistical information on the different characteristics of the people of India.
    • While NPR only contains demographic information, more details are required for the census like information on demography, economic activity, literacy and education, and housing and household amenities among others.

    National Population Register (NPR):

    • NPR was first done in 2010 and was later updated in 2015 when it was linked with Aadhar. 
    • It already has a database of 119 crore residents. 
    • It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.
    • A usual resident is defined for the purposes of NPR as a person who has resided in a local area for the past 6 months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more.
    • The Registrar General India shall act as the “National Registration Authority”, it is also the country’s Census Commissioner.

    Source: TH