The Indian Census 2011

Published on July 20, 2010

The Indian Census 2011

By Lunminthang Haokip

Introduction: Census Operation, 2010 needs no introduction. It is a nation-wide ongoing exercise since June 1, 2010. The methods adopted for house-listing and creation of individual identity database had never been so meticulous ever since the census done around the time Jesus Christ was born. The motives are equally Christian. Righteous recording of names and particulars is the be-all and end-all.

Lunminthang Haokip

Hats-off to the back-room boys who did a good research on the vital base of Indian democracy! Something dismissed off earlier as officialise and dull had been made extra-interesting. The off-beat approach to the decadal event caught the lethargic staffers-made-enumerators unawares and forced them to tire their brain trying to figure out the outlandish terms they could not catch up with during the brief training sessions.

The Manipur Chapter: Potential investors to the beleaguered North East Indian state might have brushed off Manipur as “Bundh-pur”. Never-ending blockades could have bracketed the troubled state as a taboo for tourists. Tourists who took a calculated risk to visit Manipur, however, feel like a hypochondriac at a medical convention, and plan an encore with family. Motor-fuel prices had touched three figure marks when the economic blockade imposed on the state reached its peak.

Trade, faith-exercise and school-parades had been hassled adversely. But when mobility of the government officials was periled, constrained and no hope of improvement was visible in the anvil, census-2010 took off and soared high to float on par till date; that  too without being fuelled by any advance contingency money. It all proves that, call what you may, you cannot put down the undaunted fight-back spirit of the governance of Manipur.

The Big Picture: In the run-up to census 2011, some refreshing breaks of glamour had been thrown in. On 14 July, 2010, the top-floor conference hall of Imphal’s swanky joint, Hotel Classic saw the state administration’s – DCs, ADCs, SDOs and their subordinates milling in full force to confer with government of India (GOI) and GOM-level census functionaries over a dinner-invitation. Mr. SK Chakrabarti, DDG, Registrar General, India; Mr Y. Thamkishore Singh, Director of Census Operations, Manipur; Mr. AK Samal, JD/RGI and the State Co-ordinator, COM were seated on the panel.

One after another, the dignitaries threw more light on little known aspects of the well-known job in official hand. Mind-boggling figures on the issue under discussion were revealed. It is amazing to learn that it costs the nation Rupees 3524 crores to collect an error-free demographic data of 1.22 billion people for which 2.5 million employees had been engaged.

Reports From the Field: Called to the podium, the DCs/PCOs of Manipur gave factual reports on their respective tussle with the challenges they faced squarely in supervision of house-listing and NPR matters. DC/Senapati, Ms Nidhi Kesarwani was the opening batsman or batswoman. In narrating the pace of the progress of census work in her sensitive district, she did not mince words when it came to ventilating the collective displeasure over delayed release of funds. Shri N. Ashok Kumar, DC/Ukhrul did not shy away from informing the visiting delegation that the review meeting of the evening was a case of having too little of a review meeting too late.

Mr. M. Lakshmikumar Singh, DC/Imphal East; Shri RK Dinesh Singh, DC/Thoubal; Ms Jacintha Lazarus, DC/CCpur; Shri K. Radhakumar Singh, DC/Imphal West; T. Sitlhou, DC/Bishnupur and i/c DC/Tamenglong  followed suit in the middle order batting line. The punch-lines were delivered by the closing batsman, Shri H. Deleep Singh, DC/Chandel who spoke with cool content, confidence and conviction.

The Supporting Actors: This author gave a brief account about his supporting role as In-Charge Officer, oops, Charge-Officer, census, Moreh. The focus was on the inadequate publicity given to the otherwise mammoth nation-wide census ops in the media. The cutting-edge ADC also drew the VIP-attention on the occupational hazards of enumerators and field officers who had to double up census with photo e/roll summary revision and, dual treasury charges, in certain cases.

Concluding his speech, the Itinerary mid-level functionary thanked RGI for introducing fool-proof biometric mechanisms this time round. God has a purpose attached to every discovery. NPR-technology is paying back to the master Creator in the form of correct data-entry and detected error. My colleague, Mr. Iboyaima, ADC/Jiribam also reported on similar problems he encountered in the state’s western border town.

The Schedules: The last day for submission of census papers by the concerned supervisors had been mercifully extended for a few days. Once the entries in enumeration abstract, house-listing abstract, charge register abstract, layout map abstract, NPR working sheet, NPR form and house-listing form that the enumerators had been working on in the past one and a half months, are checked and forwarded to the census office, Imphal, the vital entries will go to our scanning centre in Guwahati. So, the forms should be submitted in good shape. Bogus names and inflated numbers will not go scot-free. Abnormal increase of population above 25% has to be justified.

Phase 2 Census: Second phase will begin sometime in December, 2010. NPR (National Population Register) centres will be opened in every block. Data collected earlier will be displayed. Citizens will be given time-space to update or correct data. Capture of photographs and finger prints will take place from February 9 to 28, 2011. The whole seemingly tiresome process of census ops will not go in vain.

It will ultimately improve planning, strengthen security of the country, and help in better targeting of the benefits and services under the various government schemes to be taken up in the future. The final target of RGI is both individualistic and populist. It aims to provide a unique ID number to each and every citizen of India. The benefits will be reaped later.

Census and Christianity: In 2 Samuel 24:1, God was angry over his people. He ordered David, the king, to number Israel and Judah. David obeyed but the motives were in controversy with the mind of the Almighty. The man-after-God’s-own-heart surrendered his will, “I am in great strait. Let us fall now into the hand of the Lord”(v 14). God forgave but did not stop the pestilence of destruction from causing damage. Nevertheless, there and then, the foundation of the Jerusalem temple was laid.

The foundations of contemporary Christianity will remain shaky with faulty census entries. It is high time we too fall into the hand of the Lord and remove stains of falsity in our basic recordings to save generation-next from suffering the ordeal of a possible pestilence.

The writer is additional deputy commissioner (ADC) under Manipur government, India.

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