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Updated: May 2, 2010 02:27 IST

Count on this exercise “thanks to technology''

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C. Chandramouli, Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. Photo: R. Ravindran
THE HINDU C. Chandramouli, Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. Photo: R. Ravindran

As Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, C. Chandramouli,is one busy official overseeing the largest administrative exercise. “Added to the Census 2011 is the first ever National Population Register – a mind-boggling process,” he says, adding that visiting the city is like being home.

The Loyola College graduate is an IAS officer from the 1985 Tamil Nadu cadre. During his tenure as Director of Census Operations for Tamil Nadu for Census 2001, he was credited for his sensitive and proactive approach for the disabled, which led to the inclusion of a module on disability. Liffy Thomaslistens inashe talks about his biggest exercise.

About 64 crore forms in 16 languages, 81 lakh instruction manuals in 18 languages and nearly 2.5 million census officials will fan out to every house as the Census exercise rolls out. A task that will cost the government about Rs. 6,000 crore.

“It's only been a year since I took charge as the Census Commissioner and this task is unique, which a few get to do,” says Mr. Chandramouli, who was also the IT Secretary of the State.

But, he sounds confident when he says the process, which once used to take six years, has been compressed to one-and-a-half years now.

Thanks to technology, lots of improvements have come about – each form is uniquely numbered, the process of distributing material is simplified and GIS based mapping is used in 33 capital cities.

If the census official has missed visiting you, you could call them at the toll free helpline numbers. Introducing biometric systems, he says, should be another reason why people should be happy to enumerate themselves as the database would be shared for purposes such as electoral roll and ration card.

“This is not merely a headcount. It is a snapshot of the population done every 10 years, covering demography, economic activity, education, language, religion and migration,” he says, on why census gives a robust benchmark.

The inclusion of the disabled in Census 2011 is another milestone, for which Mr. Chandramouli says more non-governmental sectors would be consulted to improve from the last census.

Carrying out special studies and bringing them through books such as Art and Craft of Tamil Nadu, Temples of Tamil Nadu during the inter-census period gives a wealth of information, says Mr. Chandramouli, who has authored these books.

“In most cases, it is these data which is the only source of information for both government and private organisations,” he says.

He appeals to people for their cooperation with the census officials and “make it count.”

“The information you share is meaningful data, which converts into schemes for the State government. Remember, you are taking part in the nation building process.”

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