Census activities postponed amid Covid surge

Updated on Jan 04, 2022 04:40 AM IST

Census 2021 and activities around it have been postponed until further orders due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the home ministry told Parliament last month.

Census 2021 and activities around it have been postponed amid a surge in Covid cases. (HT Photo)
Census 2021 and activities around it have been postponed amid a surge in Covid cases. (HT Photo)
By, New Delhi

Census 2021 and activities around it have been postponed until further orders due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the home ministry told Parliament last month.

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

During a Census operation – both the house-listing phase and the population enumeration, the states and union territories are not supposed to change the boundaries of districts, towns, villages and tehsils. Joshi’s letter means the freezing of boundaries of administrative jurisdictions will take place on June 30.

The exercise was previously extended from December 31, 2020 to December 21, 2021.

Originally, the field work of house-listing and housing Census, the first phase of Census 2021, along with the updating of National Population Register (NPR) was to be conducted in a period of 45 days during April 2020 to September 2020 in different states and territories, depending on their local conditions and other priorities. After the house-listing, the population enumeration was to be carried out between February 9 and 28 last year.

To be sure, the home ministry or Census Commissioner’s office have not issued any official order or circular to postpone the exercise and extending the freezing date to June 30 is being seen as further delay.

Union minister of state for home affairs Nityanand Rai informed the parliament on December 7, 2021 that Census 2021 and Census related activities have been postponed due to Covid-19 Pandemic.

The government has said the forthcoming Census, in which data is collected on demographic and various socioeconomic parameters like education, SC/ST, religion, language, marriage, fertility, disability, occupation and migration of the individuals, is to be the first digital Census.

A mobile app for collection of data and a Census Portal for management and monitoring of various Census related activities has already been developed.

An official familiar with the development said with new date for administrative boundaries, the exercise may not begin before third quarter of 2022, which also depends on the Covid-19 situation in the country.

The decadal census is the largest data collection exercise, which is important to assess the population growth as well as analyse the access to basic facilities such as housing, drinking water, sanitation, housing and electricity. This exercise was last held in 2011.

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