Opinions

When India will witness the first digital census: OP-ED

Census is the only way to find out the population of a country. In India, it happens after every ten years. It is possible that in the coming time this method of census may get abolished forever. This is because there is a plan to collect all the data from the birth of infants to the death of adults in digital form. This data will be updated from time to time and the government will be able to automatically send notifications to eligible citizens for various public welfare schemes through SMS on their mobile phones. Thus all kinds of discrepancies could be removed. For this, the central government is working on a plan to amend the Birth-Death Registration Act. The draft of the amended law is in its final stages. It is believed that the new law may be implemented in the country even before the census starts in India in 2022.

The last census in India was conducted in 2011, and then the population of the country was 121 crores. As per the ten year plan, the census should have been done in 2021. The draft of the 16th census of the country in 2021 was released in the Gazette of India on 28 March 2019. The census was to be held in two parts. The house listing was to be done from April to September 2020 and the census was to start from February 9, 2021. But it had to be postponed indefinitely due to the Covid19 pandemic. Now it will happen in 2022 and it will be in digital form only. As before, pen and paper will not be used for this. Everything will be done through an App and all the data will be managed on one portal of the census. This will be the country’s first fully digital census, such information was given by the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Lok Sabha. Government servants doing the census will reach door to door and feed all the information in their tablets or mobile phones. Citizens of the country will also be able to share their information by entering their own mobile number on the census portal. Census data is useful in determining the constituencies of the Legislative Assembly and Parliament. These data are also used for administrative and public welfare purposes.

After the amendment in the Birth-Death Registration Act, the account of birth and death of citizens will start reaching the central government. This step of the government will actually reinforce the concept of One Nation One Data. At present, this data reaches the center after a long wait through the states. At present, many cards are being used like Aadhar, Driving Licence, Voter ID, Passport and Ration Card, which people get made, but often these cards are not closed after their death. Because of this, unnecessary data keeps getting collected and there is a risk of misuse of these documents, while the benefits of facilities are not accessible to the eligible persons. After the amendment in the law, the ten-year wait for the census will end. The complete picture of the population will continue to reach the Center every month, which will make it easier to make plans.

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