Context:

Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs has said in the Lok Sabha that owing to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, Census 2021 and other Census-related field activities have been postponed until further orders.

It was also said that the Census 2021 will be carried out using a mobile phone app. It will be used to collect data by school teachers who will double up as enumerators during the Census exercise.

Relevance:

GS-II Governance (Population and Associated Issues, Government Policies & Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Census
  2. What is different about the 2021 census?
  3. How will the delay affect PDS and other schemes?

About the Census (with prelims bits)

  • The census provides information on size, distribution and socio-economic, demographic and other characteristics of the country’s population.
  • The first synchronous census in India was held in 1881, and since then, censuses have been undertaken uninterruptedly once every ten years.
  • India’s last census was carried out in 2011 when the country’s population stood at 121 crores.
  • The Census 2021 will be conducted in 18 languages out of the 22 scheduled languages (under 8th schedule) and English, and the option of “Other” under the gender category will be changed to “Third Gender”.
  • For the first time data is proposed to be collected through a mobile app by enumerators and they will receive an additional payment as an incentive.
  • The last caste-based census was conducted by the British in 1931.
  • Arthashastra by ‘Kautilya’ written in the 3rd Century BC prescribed the collection of population statistics as a measure of state policy for taxation.
  • In India, a census is conducted every decade and Census 2021 will be the 16th national census of the country.

What is different about the 2021 census?

  • It is for the first time the data is collected digitally via mobile applications (installed on enumerator’s phone) with a provision of working in offline mode.
  • The Census Monitoring & Management Portal will act as a single source for all officers/officials involved in Census activities to provide multi-language support.
  • It is for the first time that information of households headed by a person from the Transgender Community and members living in the family will be collected. Earlier there was a column for male and female only.
  • The latest Census (as per the existing plan) will not collect caste data. While the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) was conducted alongside Census 2011, the outcome of the caste Census is yet to be made public.

How will the delay affect PDS and other schemes?

  • The National Food Security Act, 2013, says that 75% of the rural population and 50% of the rural population — adding up to 67% of the country’s total population — are entitled to receive subsidised food grains from the government under the targeted public distribution system (PDS).
  • Under the 2011 Census, India’s population was about 121 crore, hence PDS covered approximately 80 crore people. However, some economists have pointed out that population growth over the last decade means that if the 67% ratio is applied to 2020’s projected population of 137 crore, PDS coverage should have increased to around 92 crore people. 
  • Although Census data may have been initially used to estimate the coverage of the National Social Assistance Programme, which provides basic pension to 3.09 crore widows, disabled and elderly people below the poverty line, the Centre had announced its intent to shift to the Socio-Economic Caste Census data of 2011 instead to determine beneficiaries of the scheme.
  • Most other Central schemes, from health insurance to housing entitlements, use SECC data to estimate their beneficiary coverage, although it is also outdated by almost a decade. 
  • The Census measures migration by counting those whose current residence is different from their place of birth, which would give the overall number of migrants, as well as by asking for the last place of residence and the reasons for moving, which allows an understanding of movements and trends over the last decade when compared with previous Census data. Hence, the delay will mean that we will continue to have no answers on how many migrants are likely to be stranded in each city or State and in need of food relief or transport support.

-Source: The Hindu

Impact of delay in Census 2021 

Context:

Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs has said in the Lok Sabha that owing to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, Census 2021 and other Census-related field activities have been postponed until further orders.

It was also said that the Census 2021 will be carried out using a mobile phone app. It will be used to collect data by school teachers who will double up as enumerators during the Census exercise.

Relevance:

GS-II Governance (Population and Associated Issues, Government Policies & Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Census
  2. What is different about the 2021 census?
  3. How will the delay affect PDS and other schemes?

About the Census (with prelims bits)

  • The census provides information on size, distribution and socio-economic, demographic and other characteristics of the country’s population.
  • The first synchronous census in India was held in 1881, and since then, censuses have been undertaken uninterruptedly once every ten years.
  • India’s last census was carried out in 2011 when the country’s population stood at 121 crores.
  • The Census 2021 will be conducted in 18 languages out of the 22 scheduled languages (under 8th schedule) and English, and the option of “Other” under the gender category will be changed to “Third Gender”.
  • For the first time data is proposed to be collected through a mobile app by enumerators and they will receive an additional payment as an incentive.
  • The last caste-based census was conducted by the British in 1931.
  • Arthashastra by ‘Kautilya’ written in the 3rd Century BC prescribed the collection of population statistics as a measure of state policy for taxation.
  • In India, a census is conducted every decade and Census 2021 will be the 16th national census of the country.

What is different about the 2021 census?

  • It is for the first time the data is collected digitally via mobile applications (installed on enumerator’s phone) with a provision of working in offline mode.
  • The Census Monitoring & Management Portal will act as a single source for all officers/officials involved in Census activities to provide multi-language support.
  • It is for the first time that information of households headed by a person from the Transgender Community and members living in the family will be collected. Earlier there was a column for male and female only.
  • The latest Census (as per the existing plan) will not collect caste data. While the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) was conducted alongside Census 2011, the outcome of the caste Census is yet to be made public.

How will the delay affect PDS and other schemes?

  • The National Food Security Act, 2013, says that 75% of the rural population and 50% of the rural population — adding up to 67% of the country’s total population — are entitled to receive subsidised food grains from the government under the targeted public distribution system (PDS).
  • Under the 2011 Census, India’s population was about 121 crore, hence PDS covered approximately 80 crore people. However, some economists have pointed out that population growth over the last decade means that if the 67% ratio is applied to 2020’s projected population of 137 crore, PDS coverage should have increased to around 92 crore people. 
  • Although Census data may have been initially used to estimate the coverage of the National Social Assistance Programme, which provides basic pension to 3.09 crore widows, disabled and elderly people below the poverty line, the Centre had announced its intent to shift to the Socio-Economic Caste Census data of 2011 instead to determine beneficiaries of the scheme.
  • Most other Central schemes, from health insurance to housing entitlements, use SECC data to estimate their beneficiary coverage, although it is also outdated by almost a decade. 
  • The Census measures migration by counting those whose current residence is different from their place of birth, which would give the overall number of migrants, as well as by asking for the last place of residence and the reasons for moving, which allows an understanding of movements and trends over the last decade when compared with previous Census data. Hence, the delay will mean that we will continue to have no answers on how many migrants are likely to be stranded in each city or State and in need of food relief or transport support.

-Source: The Hindu

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