NEW DELHI: The decadal Census, which was to have happened last year, has been postponed until further orders, the government said in a bland response in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. While it was deferred last year due to the pandemic, which was understandable, no specific reason was provided for putting it off now.
Junior home minister Nityanand Rai on Tuesday said, “Due to outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, the Census 2021 and the related field activities have been postponed until further orders.” He said exactly the same thing in Parliament in July last as well.
In response to a question on the delay in Census causing severe administrative constraints regarding distribution of various government schemes, Rai said, “The population projections for India and states/Union Territories for 2011-2036, based on Census 2011 data, are available in the Report of the Technical Group on Population Projections published by National Commission on Population.” However, experts argue that population projections cannot substitute real data from the ground.
On the issue of caste-based Census, there was no change in the government’s line. Rai ruled it out, saying no government has enumerated caste-wise population other than that of the SCs and STs in census since Independence.
“Bihar, Maharashtra and Odisha and a few organisations have requested to collect caste details in the forthcoming census,” he informed DMK’s A Ganeshamurthi last week in his written response in the Lok Sabha.
For the first time, the exercise will go digital
It will be the first-ever digital Census whenever it is held with provision for self-enumeration. A mobile app for collection of data and a Census portal has already been developed