A nationwide census to identify Indians living below the poverty line (BPL) and help determine those eligible for social welfare schemes meant for the poor begins with Tripura on Wednesday.
The mammoth exercise, to be concluded by the year end in both urban and rural areas, will also take a headcount for various caste and religious groups in the country.
Those who own a vehicle, a concrete house, a fridge or a fixed phone, as also when any family member is a government employee or earns above Rs.10,000 per month will be excluded from the BPL population.
The results of the census will be utilised in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-13 to 2016-17).
The government in May gave the go-ahead for the census, the findings of which will also help in extending the Food Security Act that promises subsidised grain to the poor.
For the first time, the survey, which takes place every five years in rural areas, will include urban households as well. Chandigarh would be the first city where the socio-economic caste census will begin July 18.
The exercise will be carried out jointly by the ministries of rural development, and housing and urban poverty alleviation, and the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India.
Instead of pen and paper, the census enumerators will carry indigenously developed tablet computers.
The Bharat Electronic Ltd (BEL) is supplying these low-cost computers.