Raktima Bose

Additional task of data collection for National Population Register

Highest number of enumerators to be engaged this time

Kolkata:With the first phase of Census 2011 to begin in less than a month's time, officials and workers at the grassroots level belonging to the Directorate of Census Operations here are gearing up for a double challenge: additional assignment of collecting data for the much-talked about National Population Register (NPR) and working in the strife-torn parts of West Bengal.

It will be the 15th census in the country and the seventh since Independence.

According to Dipak Ghosh, Director of the West Bengal Directorate of Census Operations, this census will be unique in comparison to the previous ones since the highest number of enumerators will be engaged for the process and several new and contemporary indicators like the number of mobile phones, laptops and internet connection per household will be included.

The highlight of Census 2011, however, will be the parallel data collection, both factual and biometric, for the NPR that will be necessary for issuing Unique Identification (UID) numbers to every Indian citizen.

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has already proposed a Rs.1,900-crore budgetary allocation for the UID project in the 2010-11 budget. The project is headed by Nandan Nilekani under the Unique Identification Authority of India.

“Apart from collecting data for the general census, the enumerators will ask the head of each family to fill up a form for every family member for the NPR purpose and put his/her signature on it. The details provided on these forms will have to be validated by necessary documents,” Mr. Ghosh told The Hindu.

The 15-point NPR forms will contain the following questions: name of the person, his/her relation with the head of family, father's name, mother's name, spouse's name, sex, date of birth, marital status, place of birth, nationality as declared, present residential address, duration of stay at present address, permanent residential address, occupation/activity and educational qualification.

Mr. Ghosh said biometric details such as photograph and fingerprint of individuals aged 15 or above would be collected next.

Though the time limit to finish the first phase, which concentrates on house listing, is from the beginning of April to September in all the States, West Bengal will complete it from April 1 to May 15.

The second phase, which is human head counting, will commence on February 9, 2011 and end on February 28, 2011.

“About 1.73 lakh enumerators will be pressed into service this time who will supervised by master trainers, master trainer facilitators and national trainers respectively in ascending order.

There has been a change in the training method for better accuracy,” Mr. Ghosh said.

Regarding the security of staff in the trouble-torn northern and south-western parts of the State, he said regular meetings with the district magistrates and other high officials were being held on the issue.