The world’s biggest exercise to map household assets and amenities began at President Pratibha Devisingh Patil’s Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday.
The exercise will, for the first time, also see census officials photograph and take fingerprints of each one of India’s billion-plus population to create the database that will be used subsequently to issue national identity cards.
“My name is Pratibha Devi Singh Patil,…” the President told a census enumerator, part of a team of home ministry officials and Home Minister P. Chid-ambaram who called on her.
This, the first phase of Census 2011 — House listing and Housing Census — will have enumerators visiting nearly 240 lakh households to figure out where and how India lives, a home ministry official said.
The decadal headcount — conducted without fail since 1872 — will be held between 9 to 28 February 2011, said Registrar General of India C Chandramouli.
Apart from the quality of shelter and access to housing amenities, this year’s Housing Census — that will continue till September 2010 — will also count the number of Indians who own mobile phones, laptops and access to formal and informal banking facilities.
“It would help us plan better,” Home Secretary G.K Pillai.