Decennial census

Decennial census

Decennial census

#GS-01 Indian Society, #GS-02 Governance

For Prelims

History of Census

  • Census is the process of collecting, compiling, analyzing, evaluating, publishing and disseminating statistical data about the population.
  • The first known census was taken by the Babylonian Empire in 3800 BCE and counted the number of people, livestock, quantities of butter, honey, milk, wool and vegetables.
  • ‘RigVeda’ reveals that a practice of maintaining population count was established during 800-600 BCE in India.
  • ‘Arthashastra’ by ‘Kautilya’ written in the 3rd Century BCE advocated collecting the population statistics as a measure of state policy for taxation.
  • The administrative report ‘Ain-e-Akbari’ created during Akbar’s regime, also included comprehensive data pertaining to population, industry, wealth and many other characteristics.
  • The first instance of census in British India was under Lord Mayo in the year 1872 and was conducted nonsynchronously in different parts of India.
  • However, the First Official Census in India was conducted in 1881 under Lord Rippon which can be called as the First synchronised census.
  • Since then, censuses have been conducted uninterruptedly once every ten years.

Census in Modern India

  • Census is conducted by the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
  • The statutory backing for conducting Census is given under the provisions of the Census Act, 1948.
  • As guaranteed by the Census Act, 1948, information collected during the population Census is kept confidential and is not even accessible to the courts of law.
  • The first census conducted in Independent India was the 1951 census.
  • As per norms, census can only be conducted three months after the boundary limits of administrative units such as districts, sub-districts, tehsils, talukas and police stations are frozen.
  • The finalisation of boundaries of administrative units will entail covering all jurisdictional changes between two consecutive censuses.
  • The next census was supposed to take place during 2021 but was postponed due to the Covid 19 Pandemic and subsequent vaccination drive.

Source “Decennial census put off till Sept. to freeze boundaries