Government introduces new rules for Census- Polity(16th March) - Sleepy Classes IAS Skip to main content

Government introduces new rules for Census- Polity(16th March)

By March 16, 2022May 22nd, 2023GS 2, Polity & governance



Government introduces new rules for Census

  • The Census (Amendment) Rules, 2022 were issued on March 11, 2022.
  • The decennial Census exercise, which was to be held in 2020-21 was indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key highlights –

  • It amends the Census Rules, 1990 to allow details to be captured and stored in an electronic format and to enable self-enumeration by respondents in the Census and National Population Register (NPR).
    • NPR is a Register of usual residents of the country.
  • Thus, for the first-time census will be held both ways, in the digital mode and through paper schedules (questionnaire/forms).
  • Also, “print media, electronic media, social media”, have been added to the list of modes for ensuring wide publicity for the exercise. Earlier list only included radio, audio-visuals and posters.

Parliamentary committee, 238th report on census –

  • Recommended constitution of a separate expert group by the Registrar General of India (RGI) to bring qualitative change in the census exercise so that the socio-cultural diversity of the country is truly represented in the census.
  • Asked the ministry of home affairs (MHA) to restart the publication of annual reports from the upcoming census onwards.
  • What is Population Census – It is the total process of collecting, compiling, analyzing and 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.
  • Who is responsible for conduct of the census – Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Constitutional Backing – Census is a Union subject and is conducted under the provisions of the Census Act, 1948 which guarantees confidentiality.

Evolution of Census –

  • Mention of type of census in Rig Veda, Arthashastra by ‘Kautilya’ as a state measure forefficient taxation. Under Akbar, census report   ‘Ain-e-Akbari’  was prepared.
  • The initial Census in India was conducted during a span of 8 years, starting from 1865 and ending in 1872. This was done non-synchronously in various parts of India.
  • The first census of India is considered to be the one in 1872 under Viceroy Lord Mayo. (Non-synchronous ).
  • However, the first synchronous census in India was held in 1881 by census commission WC Plowden. Since then, censuses have been undertaken uninterruptedly once every ten years.
  • The last Census in India was held in 2011. This happened to be the 15th Indian Census.
  • Census 2021 is supposed to be a two-phase exercise –
    • The first phase, which involves house listing – wherein details of all buildings, permanent or temporary, are noted with their type, amenities, and assets.
    • The second phase – Population Enumeration – in which more detailed information on each individual residing in the country, Indian national or otherwise is to be noted.

Significance of census –

  • Source of authentic information
  • Census data is used for demarcation of constituencies for elections to Parliament, State legislative assemblies and the local bodies.
  • Finance commission gives grants based on population figures available from the Census data.
  • Such data on analysis feeds into effective policy making, leading to good governance.
  • It also assists businesses in strengthening and planning their business for penetration into areas, which had hitherto remained, uncovered.
  • Other Census conducted –Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) was conducted in 2011 for the first time since 1931.
    • It collects information regarding Economic status, to assist governments to come up with indicators of deprivation to define a poor or deprived person.
    • Specific caste related data that assists governments to re-evaluate which caste groups are economically worse off and which are better off.
  • It is different from normal census in that –
    • Census depicts a picture of broad statistics of India population whereas SECC is a tool to identify beneficiaries of state support.
    • Census data is confidential, whereas data of SECC is open for use by Government departments.