The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will begin the 15th census from Saturday.
This time’s headcount is doubly important — apart from collecting information for the census, this year’s data will also help create the National Population Register (NPR), a first for the country.
The data collected under the NPR will contribute to the central government’s pioneering Unique Identification Card (UIC) programme. The government hopes these cards will help track illegal immigration into the country, which it sees as a serious threat to national security.
Former Infosys co-chairman, Nandan Nilekani, has been named chairperson of the Unique Identification Authority, which was formed to issue these ID cards to every Indian. The period for collection of data is May 1 to June 15, and more than 32,000 employees from across government agencies have been roped in.
The first phase will cover residential institutions like orphanages, old-age homes. Hospitals defense cantonments, and foreign diplomats will not be included in the census. “According to guidelines from the Centre, they don’t fall under our jurisdiction,” said BMC Commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya.
The BMC will also inform residents in each ward about the date when enumerators will visit their homes. The census is carried out once every 10 years. The office of the director of the census plans to use special software to avoid duplication of data.
In the second stage, the enumerator will go back to those homes in 20 to 25 days, to record biometric details, including fingerprints and photographs. The UIC will be issued to adults. Those above the age of 15 will be included in the NPR.
“Anyone living in the city for more than six months will be counted, even foreigners,” Kshtariya added, clarifying that the UIC does not confer any right of citizenship.
After the process is complete, the data will be displayed at the district-level for verification by those named. After a first level of verification, it will be sent to the state, then the Centre. The UIC, containing a six-digit code, will be issued after all levels of scrutiny have been conducted.