The Indian Census is the largest single source of a variety of statistical information on different characteristics of the people of India. With a history of more than 130 years, this reliable, time tested exercise has been bringing out a veritable wealth of statistics every 10 years, beginning from 1872 when the first census was conducted in India non-synchronously in different parts. To scholars and researchers in demography, economics, anthropology, sociology, statistics and many other disciplines, the Indian Census has been a fascinating source of data. The rich diversity of the people of India is truly brought out by the decennial census which has become one of the tools to understand and study India.
The responsibility of conducting the decennial Census rests with the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India under Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. It may be of historical interest that though the population census of India is a major administrative function; the Census Organisation was set up on an ad-hoc basis for each Census till the 1951 Census. The Census Act was enacted in 1948 to provide for the scheme of conducting population census with duties and responsibilities of census officers. The Government of India decided in May 1949 to initiate steps for developing systematic collection of statistics on the size of population, its growth, etc., and established an organisation in the Ministry of Home Affairs under Registrar General and ex-Officio Census Commissioner, India. This organisation was made responsible for generating data on population statistics including Vital Statistics and Census. Later, this office was also entrusted with the responsibility of implementation of Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 in the country. In 2003 this office has been assigned the work of a pilot project on Multipurpose National Identity Card (MNIC). This pilot project is under implementation in 12 States and one Union territory covering a population of 3.1 million.
The Census Commissioners from 1881 Census to 1941 Census and thereafter Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India from 1949 onwards are shown below:
Census Commissioners, India
1881 Mr. W. W. Plowden
1891 Mr. J. A. Bains
1901 Mr. H. H. Risley & E. A. Gait
1911 Mr. E. A. Gait
1921 Mr. J. T. Marten
1931 Mr. J. H. Hutton
1941 Mr. M. W. M. Yeatts
Registrar General and Census Commissioners, India
1949 – 1953 Mr. R. A. Gopalaswami
1958 – 1968 Mr. Asok Mitra
1968 – 1973 Mr. A. Chandra Sekhar
1973 – 1977 Mr. R. B. Chari
1977 – 1983 Mr. P. Padmanabha
1983 – 1989 Mr. V. S. Verma
1989 – 1994 Mr. A. R. Nanda
1994 – 1999 Dr. M. Vijayanunni
1999 – 2004 Mr. Jayant Kumar Banthia
2004 – 2009 Mr. Devender Kumar Sikri
Since 2009 Dr. C. Chandramouli, IAS
FAQ For Public
A. What is Census? How is it useful?
The Indian Census is the most credible source of information on Demography (Population characteristics), Economic Activity, Literacy & Education, Housing & Household Amenities, Urbanization, Fertility and Mortality, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Language, Religion, Migration, Disability and many other socio-cultural and demographic data since 1872. Census 2011 will be the 15th National Census of the country. This is the only source of primary data at village, town and ward level. It provides valuable information for planning and formulation of polices for Central & State Governments and is widely used by National & International agencies, scholars, business people, industrialists, and many more. The delimitation/reservation of Constituencies – Parliamentary/Assembly/Panchayats and other Local Bodies is also done on the basis of the demographic data thrown up by the Census. Census is the basis for reviewing the country’s progress in the past decade, monitoring the on-going schemes of the Government and most importantly, plan for the future. That is why the slogan of Census 2011 is “Our Census, Our Future”.
B. What is the National Population Register? What is its use?
The NPR would be a Register of usual residents of the country. The NPR will be a comprehensive identity database that would help in better targeting of the benefits and services under the Government schemes/programmes, improve planning and help strengthen security of the country. This is being done for the first time in the country.
C. How will both these exercises be conducted?
The Census is a statutory exercise conducted under the provisions of the Census Act 1948 and Rules made there under. The NPR is being created under the provisions of the Citizenship Act and Rules.
The Census process involves visiting each and every household and gathering particulars by asking questions and filling up Census Forms. The information collected about individuals is kept absolutely confidential. In fact this information is not accessible even to Courts of law. After the field work is over the forms are transported to data processing centres located at 15 cities across the country. The data processing will be done using sophisticated software called Intelligent Character Recognition Software (ICR). This technology was pioneered by India in Census 2001 has become the benchmark for Censuses all around the globe. This involves the scanning of the Census Forms at high speed and extracting the data automatically using computer software. This revolutionary technology has enabled the processing of the voluminous data in a very short time and saving a huge amount of manual labour and cost.
Details such as Name, Date of Birth, Sex, Present Address, Permanent Address, Names of Father, Mother and Spouse etc will be gathered by visiting each and every household. All usual residents will be eligible to be included irrespective of their Nationality. Each and every household will be given an Acknowledgement Slip at the time of enumeration. The data will then be entered into computers in the local language of the State as well as in English. Once this database has been created, biometrics such as photograph, 10 fingerprints and probably Iris information will be added for all persons aged 15 years and above. This will be done by arranging camps at every village and at the ward level in every town. Each household will be required to bring the Acknowledgement Slip to such camps. Those who miss these camps will be given the opportunity to present themselves at permanent NPR Centres to be set up at the Tehsil/Town level. In the next step, data will be printed out and displayed at prominent places within the village and ward for the public to see. Objections will be sought and registered at this stage. Each of these objections will then be enquired into by the local Revenue Department Officer and a proper disposal given in writing. Persons aggrieved by such order have a right of appeal to the Tehsildar and then to the District Collector. Once this process is over, the lists will be placed in the Gram Sabha in villages and the Ward Committee in towns. Claims and Objections will be received at this stage also and dealt with in the same manner described above. The Gram Sabha/Ward Committee has to give its clearance or objection within a fixed period of time after which it will be deemed that the lists have been cleared. The lists thus authenticated will then be sent to the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) for de-duplication and issue of UID Numbers. All duplicates will be eliminated at this stage based on comparison of biometrics. Unique ID numbers will also be generated for every person. The cleaned database along with the UID Number will then be sent back to the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India (ORG&CCI) and would form the National Population Register. As the UID system works on the basis of biometric de-duplication, in the case of persons of age 15 years and above (for whom biometrics is available), the UID Number will be available for each individual. For those below the age of 15 years (for whom biometrics is not available), the UID Number will be linked to the parent or guardian.
D. Will an Identity Card be given?
The National Population Register would have the data of every person enumerated during the Census operations irrespective of age. It would also have the biometric data and UID Number of every person of age 15 years and above. National Identity Cards will be given in a phased manner to all usual residents by the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India. The issue of Cards will be done in Coastal Villages to start with. After this the coastal Towns will be covered and so on till the entire country is covered.
E. Who will collect the Information?
Government servants duly appointed as Enumerators will visit each and every house and collect the information required. They will carry an Identity Card as well as an Appointment Letter. In case of need you may ask them to show these documents. The local Tahsildar can also be contacted in this regard.
F. What information will be collected?
Two Forms will be canvassed in each household. The first relates to the Houselisting and Housing Census. In this, 35 questions relating to Building material, Use of Houses, Drinking water, Availability and type of latrines, Electricity, possession of assets etc. will be canvassed.
The second form relates to the National Population Register. In this the following will be canvassed:
* Name of the Person
* Date of Birth
* Place of Birth
* Marital Status
* Name of Father
* Name of Mother
* Name of Spouse
* Present Address
* Duration of stay at Present Address
* Permanent Address
* Nationality as Declared
* Educational Qualification
* Relationship to Head of family
G. Will my Information be disclosed to anybody?
All information collected under the Census is confidential and will not be shared with any agency – Government or private. Certain information collected under the NPR will be published in the local areas for public scrutiny and invitation of objections. This is in the nature of the electoral roll or the telephone directory. After the NPR has been finalised, the database will be used only within the Government.
H. How will I know that Census is being conducted?
The dates on which Census is being conducted in various States/Union Territories is given below:
Date of commencement States /UTs
1st April New Delhi (NDMC area), West Bengal, Assam, A & N Islands, Goa, Meghalaya
7th April Kerala, Lakshadweep, Orissa, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim
15th April Karnataka, Arunachal, Chandigarh
21st April Gujarat, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu
26th April Tripura, Andhra Pradesh
1st May Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Punjab, Uttaranchal, Maharashtra
7th May Madhya Pradesh
15th May J & K, Manipur, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh
1st June Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Himachal Pradesh (non synchronous), Nagaland
Not finalised Bihar, Jharkhand
Advertisements will be published in local Newspapers and in the radio/electronic media. Apart from this, the Census enumerators will be visiting your house in person. They will be affixing small Census stickers on the doorway of houses in which Census has been completed. These will indicate that they have commenced operations in your area.
I. Whom do I contact in case my house is not covered?
The local Tehsildar/Ward Officer of your area is the designated officer. In case of need you can also contact the Collector/DC/DM of your District or the Commissioner of your Town. You can also intimate us over e mail or contact us over the toll free number given in this website.
J. How do I ensure that the information given by me is being correctly entered?
The NPR form has to be signed by you. In case you require, ask the Enumerator to read it out to you and then affix your signature/thumb impression. In any case do ascertain that the details are correctly entered.
K. Do I need to show any documents to the enumerator?
The enumerator will take down all particulars as given by you. You are not required to show any proof. However, be cautioned that it is expected that you will provide correct and authentic information. You are also signing to this effect. The provision of false information can invite penalties under the Census and Citizenship Acts.
L. What is the Link between NPR and Unique ID Authority of India (UIDAI)?
The data collected in the NPR will be subjected to de-duplication by the UIDAI. After de-duplication, the UIDAI will issue a UID Number. This UID Number will be part of the NPR and the NPR Cards will bear this UID Number. The maintenance of the NPR database and updating subsequently will be done by the Office of Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India.
M. How people working abroad will be registered in National Population Register?
This is a Register of Usual Residents. If a person is staying at a particular place in India for 6 months in the past one-year or intends to stay there(in India) for at least 6 months in the future, they will be covered. If you are not a usual resident you will not be included in the NPR.
N. Can I send my census/NPR information electronically ?
No, however you can download blank schedules from census website from schedule section and keep the information ready. This may help Enumerators when he/she will come to your place for collecting/recording the information in the actual schedules especially designed for the census/NPR.