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Census 2011 - Our Census, Our Future

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Here is an interesting media report on Census 2011. It gives a sneak preview of what is being done in census. It seems an important exercize before India embarks on UAID project implementation.

Courtsey -

"...What is census? How is it useful?

The census is the most credible source of information on demography (population characteristics), economic activity, literacy and education, housing and household amenities, urbanisation, fertility and mortality, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, language, religion, migration, disability and many other socio-cultural and demographic data since 1872.

Census 2011 will be the 15th national census of the country. This is the only source of primary data at village, town and ward level. It provides valuable information for planning and formulation of polices for central and state governments and is widely used by national and international agencies, scholars, business people, industrialists, and many more.

The delimitation/reservation of constituencies -- parliamentary/assembly/panchayats and other local bodies is also done on the basis of the demographic data thrown up by the census. The census is the basis for reviewing the country's progress in the past decade, monitoring the on-going schemes of the government and most importantly, plan for the future.

That is why the slogan of Census 2011 is 'Our Census, Our Future'.

What is the National Population Register? What is its use?

The NPR would be a register of usual residents of the country. The NPR will be a comprehensive identity database that would help in better targeting of the benefits and services under the government schemes/programmes, improve planning and help strengthen security of the country. This is being done for the first time in the country.

Read here for more


kbsyed61's picture

Praja, Census - 2011

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We all agree census is an important exercise that generates the relevant data for further planning and policy making.

Now that the exercise has started, should PRAJA community take this up and support it? How would be a question? But start could be made with meeting the census commissioner and finding the opportunities where PRAJA can help.


Naveen's picture

Hats off to Nitish Kumar

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Swaminomics today in TOI, titled "Backward Bihar goes for the smartest cards" was most interesting. Nitish Kumar is getting down to stem the rot right from the roots, or even below! - probably the only chief minister who is making very serious efforts to curb the menace of corruption in the country.

Excerpts from the article :

All Indians will welcome hightech smart cards. Yet the technological lead has been taken not by the census commissioner but, astonishingly, by Bihar. This state has just completed a pilot project for smart cards in Patna district, called e-shakti (meaning power from electronic governance). These cards use not just fingerprints but biometric matching of the human iris, which is state-of the-art technology.

E-shakti has covered 13.5 lakh people in Patna district. It is now being expanded to cover the whole state. This bids fair to be the biggest biometric card scheme in the world.

It may seem crazy that such a high-tech project is being launched in one of India’s most backward states. Yet administrative standards in Bihar are so abysmal that no mere tinkering can check corruption. Only a revolutionary new technology that bypasses traditional avenues of corruption can deliver the goods in Bihar.

In early 2007, chief minister Nitish Kumar worried that corruption and bogus muster rolls were jeopardizing his political gamble to stake his future on bringing development to Bihar. Fellow Biharis were using every trick in the book to evade his anti-corruption measures.

Then he heard that an e-governance consultant based in Chennai had devised a biometric card that could establish identities beyond all doubt, and thus thwart bogus muster rolls. Clearly such high technology would face challenges in a state where electricity was scarce in the capital and non-existent in most rural areas. Nevertheless, the consultant was invited to Patna to demonstrate his new technology, and he convinced even old cynics.

The pilot project revealed many glitches. It proved imperative to launch awareness campaigns using all possible tools, including radio and TV, to sensitize people to the importance and potential benefits of smart cards. Only after such sensitization did all residents of a village attend camps to get registered. Cynicism about past failed schemes had to be overcome.

In many countries, including the US, the passport authorities scan only two thumbprints per person. But in notorious Bihar, such a system could enable crooks to use their ten fingers to create five separate identities for themselves, and claim multiple benefits. Hence e-shakti was designed to take 10 fingerprints from all people.

Even this would not have deterred innovative crooks. So e-shakti opted for biometric iris detection. This would raise costs and take much more time, but could be truly corruption-proof. Ten fingerprints and two irises are hard to fake, even for the most ingenious Bihari contractors.

Fortunately this is an industry marked by falling costs and rising scale. The Bihar government estimates that the cost of smart cards for the whole state will be Rs 400 crore, which is peanuts for such a large population. This drives home the lesson that, when crafted properly, high technology is not just fast and effective but cheap too. It can benefit the poor and needy no less than software millionaires in Bengaluru.

kbsyed61's picture

NPR - Implications of registering, tracking, profiling

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The relationship between the state and the people is set to change dramatically, and irretrievably, and it appears to be happening without even a discussion about what it means. The National Population Register has been launched countrywide, after an initial foray in the coastal belt. All persons in India aged over 15 years are to be loaded on to a database. This will hold not just their names and the names of their parents, sex, date of birth, place of birth, present and permanent address, marital status – and “if ever married, name of spouse” – but also their biometric identification, which would include a photograph and all eight fingers and two thumbs imprinted on it. This is being spoken of with awe, as the ‘biggest-ever' census exercise in history. 1.2 billion people are to be brought on to this database before the exercise is done. This could well be a marvel without parallel. But what will this exercise really do?

Naveen's picture

Positive developments re. NPR, UID & NREGS

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Can the government’s pet project NREGS be made more effective if treated as a business enterprise? A school of thought has emerged that believes several social sector initiatives, if promoted as business enterprises, can have greater impact. “Social business’’ is the new fusion of socio-capitalism, where jholawalas will rub shoulders with boys with big bucks - Click for full report on TOI.

Other interesting reports :

"First UIDs go to coast" - report here (on TOI)

"Census data is critical to drawing up policies" - click here.

Vasanth's picture

Increasing Urbanization - A vision to 2030

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 Here is the link on an exhibition on vision 2030 for megacities: comment guidelines

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