'Census delay to hit welfare programmes, policies': Experts pan Modi government

This is the second time that the enumeration exercise that was expected to be completed by March 2021 is getting another extension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Published: 28th July 2022 02:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th July 2022 08:37 AM   |  A+A-

NPR, census

Image for representation (File photo | AP)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  India’s Census 2021 once again has been postponed till further orders, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

This is the second time that the enumeration exercise that was expected to be completed by March 2021 is getting another extension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking to TNIE, experts expressed concern over the government’s move, saying that delaying the exercise further will derail several welfare programmes, policies and resource allocations, which are based upon population data.

Noted economist and former chief statistician Proanb Sen said that since the government hasn’t notified any date for even the house listing, Census is going to be further delayed, which will severely impact welfare schemes and policies. 

Currently, many central programmes are planned based on the 2011 Census. Sen said the recommendations of the Finance Commission are going to be impacted by the delay as it depends upon the population estimates.

“It is the single largest component, single most important component of the Finance Commission awards,” he said.

Though the 15th Finance Commission recommendations are based on 2011 Census data, for the next Finance Commission, new population figures are necessary, he added.

Sen pointed out that since foodgrain allocations to states/UTs under Central quota are based on the 2011 population figures, lakhs of beneficiaries will be deprived of the benefits.

According to estimates, approximately 10 crore people are projected to be left out of the food subsidy schemes because of the delay in Census.

Dipa Sinha, assistant professor with Delhi’s Ambedkar University, who is also associated with the Right to Food Campaign, said the Public Distribution System will be hit by the delay.

“Census is the most important data and it’s long overdue. It’s the most reliable data. Fertility rates, migration, schools, urban policy, urban housing, migration all are decided by Census. The PDS allocations are related to proportions of population. If the population figure is 10-year-old, we will continue to use that, depriving the benefits for crores of people,” she said.

Data on migration will also suffer, especially after Covid, she added. Sample selection for surveys on consumption, housing and labour will also be impacted, Sen further pointed out.

Member of the erstwhile Planning Commission, N C Saxena, however, begged to differ and asserted that the delay in the Census exercise won’t impact government policies or programmes in a big way.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp