Census of India 2011 to be a historical landmark

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New Delhi, March 30 (ANI): The nation is all set to embark on the largest census exercise, ever undertaken probably in the world, with Census 2011 on Thursday (April 1) that will commence with President Pratibha Patil being the first citizen to be enumerated, followed by Vice President Hamid Ansari.

The Census 2011 will be the 15th National Census of the country, however, this time the government has also decided to prepare a National Population Register (NPR) along with Census 2011.

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 Census has been described as the largest administrative exercise in the country. With the added task of preparing the NPR, its scope and magnitude has grown manifold.

The Union Home Minister, P. Chidambaram recently aptly summed it up saying: "Never before have we tried an exercise of this scale. In fact, nowhere in the world has a Government tried to count, identify and issue identity cards to more than a billion people. This is the biggest exercise, I believe since humankind came into existence".

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. Surely these facts vouchsafe the claim that the Indian Census is indeed the largest such operation in the world.he 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.

This is the only source of primary data at village, town and ward level. It provides valuable information for planning and formulation of polices for Central and State Governments and is widely used by National and International agencies, scholars, business people, industrialists, and many more.

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.

The Census would cost around Rs. 2,209 crores. (ANI)

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