As political leaders clamour for the enumeration of OBCs as part of the 2011 decennial census, the registrar-general and census commissioner has said the census machinery is not equipped to undertake such an exercise.
“Unlike an SC/ST list, there is no standardised list for OBCs. There is one central list and each state has its own list. To expect the schoolteacher, our grassroots enumerator, to understand all of that with two days of training is not practical,” C. Chandramouli, the Registrar-General and Census Commissioner, told HT.
“Census as a means is not ideal to count OBCs. We are not equipped logistically. It should be done by state BC commissions.”
The census process is set to begin in April and will include data collection for the National Population Register (NPR) for the first time.
In Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s words, it is “the biggest exercise, I believe, since humankind came into existence”.
With 25,42,934 enumerators counting 1.2 billion people, he might not be off the mark.
The NPR, believed to be necessary after the 26/11 attacks for security reasons, will list all residents irrespective of their citizenship. The 2011 census will be the 15th census and seventh after Independence. The first phase — housing census — is set to begin in April and the second phase — population enumeration — in February 2011. “If people do not list themselves it’s going to cost them dearly. Later, the onus will be on them to prove their identity,” Chandramouli said.
The census is the biggest source of data of the country, with information at the ward, town and village levels. The 2001 census returned 2, 800 religions and 6, 661 mother tongues.
“It usually takes four to five years to publish the census but this time, due to the state of art technology we are using, we should be able to do it by 2013,” Chandramouli said.