#GS-01 Indian Society, #GS-02 Governance
History of Census
- Census is the process of collecting, compiling, analyzing, evaluating, publishing and disseminating statistical data about the population.
- The first known census was taken by the Babylonian Empire in 3800 BCE and counted the number of people, livestock, quantities of butter, honey, milk, wool and vegetables.
- ‘Rig–Veda’ reveals that a practice of maintaining population count was established during 800-600 BCE in India.
- ‘Arthashastra’ by ‘Kautilya’ written in the 3rd Century BCE advocated collecting the population statistics as a measure of state policy for taxation.
- The administrative report ‘Ain-e-Akbari’ created during Akbar’s regime, also included comprehensive data pertaining to population, industry, wealth and many other characteristics.
- The first instance of census in British India was under Lord Mayo in the year 1872 and was conducted non–synchronously in different parts of India.
- However, the First Official Census in India was conducted in 1881 under Lord Rippon which can be called as the First synchronised census.
- Since then, censuses have been conducted uninterruptedly once every ten years.
Census in Modern India
- Census is conducted by the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
- The statutory backing for conducting Census is given under the provisions of the Census Act, 1948.
- As guaranteed by the Census Act, 1948, information collected during the population Census is kept confidential and is not even accessible to the courts of law.
- The first census conducted in Independent India was the 1951 census.
- As per norms, census can only be conducted three months after the boundary limits of administrative units such as districts, sub-districts, tehsils, talukas and police stations are frozen.
- The finalisation of boundaries of administrative units will entail covering all jurisdictional changes between two consecutive censuses.
- The next census was supposed to take place during 2021 but was postponed due to the Covid 19 Pandemic and subsequent vaccination drive.