(Daily News Scan - DNS English) Digital Census 2021

(Daily News Scan - DNS English) Digital Census 2021

Important Points:

The Union home Minister Amit Shah recently made a statement of introducing a digital census for the year 2021. The digital collection of data will be aided with the help of a mobile app. He also mentioned that an amount of Rs 12000 crore will be invested for the preparation of National Population Register and census. Further, he mentioned the benefits of census 2021, explaining its helpfulness in terms of future planning, development and welfare schemes. Stating the importance of the census, he also reflected on the programmes launched by the government in its last tenure that initially had its dependence on the census 2011.

In this DNS we will know about the census, the purpose and benefits of preparing it.

Census is the data for reviewing any country’s progress in the previous decades. It is undertaken every 10 years and provides information on the size, distribution, socio economic, literacy and education, fertility and mortality, language, religion and demography.

The purpose of census is to estimate the growth of population along with determining the development of the people. The information for the compilation of the census is done through visiting each and every household, gathering information and filling up of forms.

In other words, it is the total process of collecting, compiling and analyzing demographic, economic and social data at a specific time for the persons in a country. It is a systematical way of acquiring and recording information about the members of a specific population.

Talking about the history of the census of India, it has been conducted around 15 times for now including the last 2011 census. The concept began in 1872.

Before attaining independence, the census of India was prepared non synchronously between 1865 and1872. During the British era in India, census was mostly designed to carry out the British agenda for governance.

At that time as per the words of a sociologist, census exercise was more for the administrative needs of the British than of the social reality of the Indians. The first synchronous census was prepared in 1881 comprising of three volumes. The exercise for 1941 census was curtailed and very little data was published due to the World War II.

Later on after independence, from the year 1951 all the census was prepared under the 1948 Census of India Act. From then till 2011 a total of 15 censuses have been prepared. The last census of 2011 showed India’s population to be 1.21 billion, depicting a rise of 17. 6% rise from that of 2001 census.

After the independence from the year 1949 the work of conducting census data was done by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. The Government of India in May 1949 initiated steps for developing systematic collection of statistics on size of population, growth etc.

Census acts as primary source of basic national population data required for various administrative purposes. It becomes beneficial for the information needed for conducting other statistical investigations. Census represents the entire statistics down to smallest geographical units of a country. Looking forward to its benefits, its utility is seen in –

  • Administration and policy making
  • It is also been utilized for research purposes
  • Acts as a frame for sample survey; and also
  • Beneficial for business and Industry
  • Helps in identifying social, economic and demographic exclusion like inequalities related to race, religion, ethics etc.
  • Helps in empowering the local communities by providing them with correct information to participate in local decision making

The Home Minister had shared his idea of having a single card where all the data can be put together for all purposes like Aadhaar, Passport, bank account, driving licence and voter card. For this purpose he said a digital census is a must. The census of 2021 will be conducted in major Indian languages through a mobile app, where individuals can easily update their details digitally as per the convenience of their language. Through digital census it will become convenient for the family members to easily update the information if a member dies or takes birth in their family. The census of 2021 will be carried out in two phases. This upcoming census will be the 16th census of the country and the 8th after independence.

With the new digital census expectations are there of having less errors compared to the paper based system. It will reduce the time consumption of gathering the data from households and then later on arranging it as per the needs. This will also help in the compilation of National Population Register. Digital census will be of help if a child takes birth and attains the age of 18 he / she will be directly eligible to vote without applying for voter id.

The availability of census data in digital format will help in multi dimensional analysis and for public welfare with the help of latest software.

Though there are benefits of having a digital census, it may face some challenges too like data safety and security, Privacy and data storage capacity along with other technological issues. But before going forward with the implementation of the idea of digital census the challenges should be kept in focus. The solutions for the same should be first sorted in order to have a proper implementation of the concept of digital census.

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