Nagaland has recorded a negative decadal growth of population with the new Census data showing the state’s population at 19,80,602 against the 2001 figure of 19,88,636.

While all the North Eastern States recorded the decadal population growth more or less around the national average of 17.64 per cent, Nagaland recorded the same at minus 0.40 per cent.

Nagaland had recorded the country’s highest decadal population growth of 64.41 per cent in 2001 and 56.08 in 1991 respectively.

However, the State government had rejected the state’s 2001 Census figures describing them as exaggeration and for the past one year have made appeals to the people, particularly the village authorities to give correct data during the Census operation 2011.

State census director Hekali Zhimomi said all efforts were made throughout the year to have a correct Census figure of Nagaland and community leaders were persuaded and mobilised at various levels to carry out a meaningful Census operation this time.

Rejecting the 2001 Census, the State government on various occasions found that most of the villages recorded exaggerated population figures believing that they would get more financial allocations from the government for various rural development schemes.

This prevailing perception prompted Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio to make repeated appeals to the people to give correct data to the enumerators and how it helps grass root planning process.

He had also explained to village authorities like village councils and village development boards that exaggerated figures would not ensure more flow of funds.

Neighbouring Assam which registers 2011 population at around 3.12 crore, records the decadal growth at 16.83 per cent against 18.85 per cent in 2001, despite popular perception of influx of migrants from Bangladesh.

The total provisional population of seven NE States and Sikkim has been registered at 4.56 crore as on March 31, 2011.