- 03 Aug 2019
- 4 min read
The next census of India to be conducted in 2021 with March 1, 2021 as the reference date, except for the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
- 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 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.
- Data from the Census 2011 is still being released. E.g.: The dataset on migration was published recently.
Issue of Caste Data Collection
- Earlier in 2018, the Ministry of Home Affairs had declared that the Other Backward Class (OBC) category would be included in the Census 2021.
- However, the Registrar-General of India (RGI) has said that only SC/ST will be included as the unreliable nature of caste data collection decreases the credibility of the results. E.g.: A person belonging to the Yadav caste writes Yadu, Yaduvanshi, etc. in the form; there is no standardisation. People sometimes even confuse caste with gotra.
- The 2011 caste data, collected as part of the Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC), is yet to be released by the Centre.
- Even a committee formed under former vice-chairman of NITI Aayog, Arvind Panagariya to find a way to publish the 2011 Socio-economic and Caste Census data failed to provide any tangible outcome.
- The last caste-based census was conducted by the British in 1931.
- The census provides information on size, distribution and socio-economic, demographic and other characteristics of the country's population.
- 'Rig-Veda' reveals that some kind of population count was maintained during 800-600 BC in India.
- Arthashastr 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.
- A systematic and modern population census, in its present form was conducted non synchronously between 1865 and 1872 in different parts of the country.
- However, the first synchronous census in India was held in 1881. Since then, censuses have been undertaken uninterruptedly once every ten years.
- India's last census was carried out in 2011 when the country's population stood at 121 crore. The Indian Census is one of the largest administrative exercises undertaken in the world.