Census in India: All you need to know

Last Updated 25 December 2019, 03:03 IST

What is census?

The Indian Census is the largest collection of statistical information of Indian citizens. India, a country that is recognised for its 'Unity in diversity', the census gives citizens a chance to study the various facets of their nation through its society, demography, economics, anthropology, sociology, statistics etc.

When is the census conducted?

Done every 10 years, the census was first conducted in 1872 during the British rule and the first complete census was done in 1881. The last census was done in 2011 and the next census will be conducted in 2021, the 16th one. This time, instead of forms, every individual can fill the required details on an app. No document will be required to be shown as proof and self-declaration will suffice.

How is the census conducted?

The primary tool of census operations is the questionnaire that is developed over the years, taking into account the changing needs of the country. It is a list of questions that helps the government collect all the necessary details required about citizens. The name of person, relationship to head, sex, date of birth and age, current marital status, religion, mother tongue, literacy status are some of the fundamental questions one can find in almost all census questionnaires.

Who conducts the census?

The Census is conducted by the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

What is the Census Act?

The Census Act was enacted in 1948 to provide for the scheme of conducting population census with duties and responsibilities of census officers. The Government of India decided in May 1949 to initiate steps for developing systematic collection of statistics on the size of the population, its growth, etc., and established an organisation in the Ministry of Home Affairs under Registrar General and ex-Officio Census Commissioner, India. This organisation is responsible for generating data on population statistics including vital statistics and census.

How useful is the census data?

The data collected through the census is used for administration, planning and policy-making as well as management and evaluation of various programmes run or to be introduced by the government, NGOs, researchers, commercial and private enterprises, etc.

Census data is also used for the demarcation of constituencies and allocation of representation to the Parliament, state legislative assemblies and local bodies.

(Published 24 December 2019, 16:19 IST)

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