Owing to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, Census 2021 and other Census-related field activities have been postponed until further orders, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
“In Census, data is collected on demographic and various socio-economic parameters like education, SC/ST, religion, language, marriage, fertility, disability, occupation and migration of the individuals. The forthcoming Census is to be the first digital Census and there is a provision for self-enumeration,” Minister of State for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai, said in a written reply to Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s question.
A mobile application for data collection and a Census portal for managing and monitoring various Census related activities have been developed. The questionnaire for the first phase of Census was notified in the Gazette.
“The individual data collected in Census under the Census Act, 1948, are not made public as per the provisions contained in the Act. The individual data are not used for the preparation of any other database, including the National Register of Citizens. Only the aggregated Census data at various administrative levels are released,” it said.
Special emphasis was given to scientifically designing the Census questions for faster processing and early release of data, said the Minister.
In response to another query from Member S. Jothimani, the Minister said the Census Schedule was designed in consultation with various stakeholders, including State governments. The intent of the government for conducting Census 2021 was notified in the Gazette of India on March 28, 2019, but the Census activities were postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“In Census, the castes and tribes which are specifically notified as Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) as per the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 and the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950, as amended from time to time, are enumerated,” he said.
The Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC)-2011 was conducted by the Ministry of Rural Development and the then Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) in rural and urban areas. The SECC-2011 data, excluding the caste data, have been finalised and published by the Ministries.
“The Office of the Registrar General, India, had provided logistics and technical support in conducting the SECC-2011.The raw caste data have been provided to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) for classification and categorisation of the data. As informed by the MoSJE, there is no proposal to release the caste data at this stage,” said the reply.