Public resistance, pandemic derail economic census in Kerala, says office

Economic Census which is crucial for making welfare policies and earmarking funds for target groups based on their economic activities.

Published: 04th January 2021 02:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th January 2021 07:43 AM   |  A+A-

Salary, finance, money

For representational purposes.

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Having completed only 30 per cent of the Economic Census since its launch a year ago owing to public resistance and the pandemic outbreak, the National Statistical Office (NSO) has asked the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation to extend the deadline by two months.

Economic Census which is crucial for making welfare policies and earmarking funds for target groups based on their economic activities.

According to sources, there is a stiff protest from the public from certain pockets in the state including the coastal belt against the survey.

It is learned that people are taking out their anger against various Centre governments policies on enumerators who go out to collect data.

According to officials, enumerators were manhandled by the public at some places and the police had to step in.

Currently, there are multiple cases at many police stations. 

The extended deadline ended on December 31, 2020, and now the NSO has requested another two months to complete the survey.Enumerators collect names, addresses, number of family members, contact numbers and details of economic activities.

The census also covers all sectors and all establishments including household enterprises.

Deputy Director General of NSO (field operations division) in Kerala and Lakshadweep Sunitha Bhaskar said that almost 86 per cent of the survey has been completed in many states and Kerala is lagging because of stiff protest from the part of the public. 

“Fearing harassment from public, many enumerators have quit their jobs. We have to complete the census within two months. Compared to other states Kerala is definitely lagging behind. There is resistance in almost every district and hence we have taken up the matter with the state government. We need the support of the local self government department and police for conducting the census,” said Sunitha.

The district collectors of every district has issued orders requesting the public to cooperate with the census. 

Though the original deadline March 31, 2020, the Centre extended it twice following the pandemic outbreak.

“We are yet to get a response from the ministry on the request for extension. We have to launch the survey and awareness drive simultaneously to ensure the timely completion of the census,” Sunitha said.

She said comprehensive training would be imparted to enumerators.

“They are young and need more training to handle the situation,” she added.


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