HomeNATIONCensus 2021: Corona havoc on census, survey stopped till further orders

Census 2021: Corona havoc on census, survey stopped till further orders

Corona is wreaking havoc on common life as well as its effect on government works is also visible. Due to the epidemic, the important census program (Census 2021) which is held every 10 years has been stopped. The Union Home Ministry had told Parliament last month that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Census 2021 and other related activities have been postponed till further orders.

In line with the decision, Registrar General of India (RGI) and Census Commissioner Vivek Joshi wrote to states and union territories last month, extending the date for making changes in administrative boundaries till the end of June.

During the census campaign – both the house-listing phase and the population enumeration, the states and union territories should not change the boundaries of districts, towns, villages and tehsils. Joshi’s letter means that the boundaries of administrative jurisdiction will be put on hold till June 30. Earlier this exercise was extended from December 31, 2020, to December 21, 2021.

Basically, updating of National Population Register (NPR) over a period of 45 days during April 2020 to September 2020 under the first phase of Census 2021 in various States and Union Territories depending on local conditions and other preferences. Housing-listing and housing census were to be done. After house listing, the population census was to be done between February 9 and 28 last year.

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To be sure, the Ministry of Home Affairs or the Office of the Census Commissioner has not issued any official order or circular suspending the exercise and now the extension of this date till June 30 is being seen as a further delay.

Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai informed Parliament on 7 December last year that Census 2021 and census related activities have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government had then said that the upcoming census, which collects data on demographic and various socioeconomic parameters such as education, SC/ST, religion, language, marriage, fertility, disability, occupation and migration of individuals, will be the first digital census.

A mobile app for data collection and a census portal for managing and monitoring various census related activities have already been developed.

An official familiar with the plan said that with the new date of administrative limits, the exercise cannot start before the third quarter of 2022 and also depends on the COVID-19 situation in the country.

The census, which is conducted every 10 years, is the largest data collection exercise in the country, which is crucial for assessing population growth as well as analyzing access to basic amenities such as drinking water, sanitation, housing and electricity. Before this, the last census was conducted in 2011.

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