The Union government has amended the Census Rules framed in 1990 to allow the details to be captured and stored in an electronic format and also to enable self-enumeration by respondents.
The decennial Census exercise, which was indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be held for the first time both in the digital mode and through paper schedules (questionnaire/forms).
The first phase of Census 2021 — Houselisting and Housing Census along with updating the National Population Register (NPR) — was scheduled to be held from April-September 2020 but was postponed indefinitely. The second and main phase — Population Enumeration — was to be concluded by March 5, 2021.
As reported by The Hindu, the respondents will have the option to fill details on their own.
Around 30 lakh enumerators who are mostly government officials and government school teachers will each be assigned the responsibility to collect details of about 650-800 people through the online and offline modes.
On March 11, the Registrar-General of India notified the amended Census rules in the Gazette, which said that “a person may fill-up, complete and submit the census schedule through self-enumeration”.
It added that self-enumeration “means filling-up, completion and submission of census schedule by respondents themselves”.
Though the government had earlier announced that the Census will be done in the electronic mode and self-enumeration will be allowed, the rules were amended and notified to formalise the announcement.
According to the annual report of the Union Home Minister for the year 2019-20, there will be a three-pronged approach for updating the NPR database: self updating, wherein it is proposed to allow residents to update their own data fields after following some authentication protocols on a web portal; updating of NPR data in the paper format; and on the mobile mode.
The details of the respondent will be displayed on a mobile application developed in-house for conducting the Census exercise but no “biometrics or documents” will be collected. These details will then be stored in the system for future use.
The NPR, earlier collated in 2010 and 2015, has an electronic database of more than 119 crore residents.