Census is official counting of population .In India the first census was carried out in1951. Census is undertaken every ten years in India. The statistics generated by the first census of 1951 was the basis of the First FiveYear Plan started in the same year. The First General Election was also conducted in 1952 on the basis provided by the first census of free India. In 1961 a Registrar General was appointed to conduct the decennial census. A linguistic Survey Of India is responsible to carry out the survey of languages spoken all over the country. The Registrar General controls the Director General of Linguistic Survey of India, while the Ministry of Home Affairs supervises the work of The Registrar General.
The decennial census of 2021 could not be carried out due to the outbreak of Covid-19 Pandemic. According to Vivek Joshi, IAS, Registrar General of India, the preliminary work of Census operations is in full swing and the provisional statistics will most probably be available by April,2023. All the planning by Niti Ayog is held up due to non -availability of 2021 census figures.
Another important task is due in 2026.The Delimitation of Parliamentary & Assembly constituencies is to be held in that year. The number of MPs, MLAs & MLCs is expected to go up on the basis of 2021 census figures. That is why the census is very important for Atmanirbhar Bharat. According to a Maharashtra Times report, the Central Government has issued revised rules for Census, 2022. Now the citizens can provide info online. The questionnaire about the census can be answered offline or online. The revised rules were released late night on Friday, 11 March, 2022, by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Despite the online facility for the survey, there’s little to none awareness about this online facility and even the government is not telecasting informationals about the same on mainstream media to spread the word.
The Census operations were planned between 01 April & 30 September,2022, but they were held up again due to Covid-19. Thus all planning is in limbo owing to non -availability of empirical data supposed to be generated by the decennial census. The office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner has released the report of the Sample Registration System(SRS) for 2019. SRS is the only official source of various demographic indicators in India except the census. One of the most populous country in the world is left with no stats to plan and execute their welfare strategies. On the flipside, elections and cabinet appointments are underway with no idea about the state of the country.
The key demographic trends are as follows:
1.India’s population is not getting young anymore; the working population is on the rise.
2.Bihar, MP & Jharkhand are the three youngest states, while Kerala & TN are the oldest states.
3 Gender imbalance in birth rates is the same.
4. Number of women married before 21 is on decline.
5.More than half of live births in 2019 were to women bearing first child.
The Parliamentary Consultative Committee headed by Congress leader Anand Sharma, whose report was presented in Parliament on 14 March 2022, has called for the census operations to begin as soon as possible so that the planning process can start again. Some members felt that some unscrupulous elements may take undue advantage if the decadal census is unduly delayed. The Govt has said that it has no plans to list caste-wise data in the census other than the SCs & STs. The common person is interested to know the impact of Covid-19 on the population of our country.