Why Conducting Census Must Be A Top Priority


There is a hunch that the formalisation of India’s economy has gained pace following the introduction of goods and services tax. Do we know the extent of it? No really, as exact pan-India data sets have not been updated for more than a decade.

Do we know how central and state governments’ multiple welfare schemes have fared at the ground level? The answer is the same: Where is the data to assess the same and reorient policies accordingly?

As we grapple with these and many other questions, we are staring at months and possibly years of delay in conducting census operations. According to a recent report in a leading business daily, the decennial exercise may not happen before the conclusion of 2024 Lok Sabha elections. In other words, it will be delayed by a good three and a half years, at the very least.

The 150-year-old history of census operations in India has many instances of conducting the exercise even in the most trying of times. They include the ones done in 1941 (the enumeration happened even then, but tabulation didn’t because of the second World War); 1961 when the threat of the Chinese aggression loomed around our borders and in 1971 even in the midst of Bangladesh’s liberation struggle.  

The delay now, we are given to understand, has been caused by the Covid pandemic and disruptions it has caused throughout the world. As per the original schedule, the housing census was to take place in the middle of 2020 and the population count in February 2021. Then the pandemic happened causing disruptions.

According to the United Nations Population Fund, Census operations were scheduled to take place in as many as 150 countries in 2020 and 2021. While some postponed it, many others, including the United States, did go ahead with slight revision in the original schedule. According to the US census bureau, “in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Census Bureau adjusted 2020 Census operations in order to:

  • Protect the health and safety of the American public and Census Bureau employees.

  • Implement guidance from Federal, State, and local authorities regarding COVID-19.

  • Ensure a complete and accurate count of all communities.

We adapted or delayed some of our operations to protect the health and safety of our staff and the public and make sure we counted the nation’s population.”


Image and article originally from www.bqprime.com. Read the original article here.