Saturday, 24 December 2011


         2011 CENSUS - A REVIEW
(This article was published in the " Kurukshetra, June 2011"- A Journal of Rural Development Published by Govt. of India)
                                                    -Dr. S. Vijay Kumar
              A population Census is the process of collecting, compiling, analyzing and disseminating demographic, social, cultural and economic data relating to all persons in the country, at a particular time in ten years interval. The Indian Census has a very long history. The earliest literature ‘Rig Veda’ reveals that some kind of Population count was maintained during 800-600 BC. Kautilya’s Arthasastra, written around 321-296 BC, laid stress on Census taking as a measure of State policy for purpose of taxation. During the regime of Mughal king Akbar the Great, the administrative report ‘Ain-e- Akbari’ included comprehensive data pertaining to population, industry, wealth and many other characteristics.
The Census of India has emerged as the most credible source of information for planners, research scholars, administrators and other data users. Census has been conducted in India since 1872. However, the first synchronous census in India was held in 1881. The planning and execution of Indian Census is challenging and fascinating. India is one of the very few countries in the World, which has a proud history of holding Census after every ten years. In India, the population Census is a Union Subject (Article 246) and is listed at serial number 69 of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. Census of India is conducted under the provisions of the Census Act 1948 and the Census Rules, 1990. Although the Census Act is an instrument of Central Legislation, in the scheme of its execution the State Governments provide the administrative support for the actual conduct of the Census.
The Census of India 2011 was the fifteenth census in the continuous series as reckoned from1872 and the seventh since independence. The motto of India Census 2011 is "Our Census, Our Future". It started on 1st of April 2010. It was carried out in two phases, covering 640 districts and 5924 sub-districts. The canvassing of the questionnaire was done from 9th of February 2011 to 28th of February 2011. A Revision Round was then conducted from 1st to 5th of March 2011 and the count updated to the Reference Moment of 00:00 hours on the 1st of March 2011.

National Population Register (NPR):
This year, the Government of India has added another task to prepare a National Population Register (NPR) along with census data. the approved cost for the creation of the NPR is Rs 3539.24 crores. The NPR will include details such as the name of the person, father’s name, mother’s name, spouse’s name, sex, date of birth, place of birth, current marital status, education, nationality, occupation, present address of usual residence and permanent residential address. The NPR will provide a standard identity database and facilitate the allotment of Unique Identification (UID) Number to each individual, above the age of 15 years. A biometrics based identity database along with UID number would benefit the common man in many ways. It will obviate the need for producing multiple documentary proofs of identity by an individual for availing government or private services.
Information on Castes & preparation of satellite imagery:
The number of members of each caste was counted was in 1931 census carried out by the British. Information on castes initially not intended was later included after demand from almost all opposition parties. The latest addition in Census 2011 is the preparation of satellite imagery based digital maps at the street and building level in 33 Capital Cities of the country. These digital maps were used effectively to carve out the Enumeration Blocks in both phases of the Census.
The massive decadal census exercise covered 6.41 lakh villages deploying 2.7 million officials. The cost of the exercise worked out to be Rs18.19 per person. The Census will cost around Rs 2209 crores.
The 2011 Census provisional figures released on 31st March 2011 reveals that  India's population rose to 1.21 billion people (world’s 17.5 per cent population) over the last 10 years -- an increase by 181 million, but significantly the population growth rate is slower for the first time in nine decades.  The male population has grown by 17.19 percent to reach 623.7 million (62 crore) while the female population has risen by 18.12 percent to reach 586.5 million (58 crore). India is now home to a whopping 17.5 per cent population - compared to China which hosts 19.4 per cent. India’s population is now equal to the population of United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Japan put together. India has 623.7 million males and 586.5 million women.
Sex Ratio:
The Census indicated a continuing preference for male children over female children. A matter of overwhelming concern lies in the fact that the child sex ratio has slipped to its lowest since India's independence. The sex ratio (the number of females per 1,000 males) for the 0-6 age group has dramatically dropped to 914 in 2011, from 927 in 2001. This means in a decade when the country enjoyed unprecedented economic growth, it also became a terrifyingly hostile place to be conceived or born as a girl. "It's extremely alarming and everybody should be worried and careful against this malaise," said Girija Vyas, chairperson of the National Commission for Women. She said "Convictions under the Act are very low. Female foeticide is high even in states that have high education and are affluent. The government needs to step in and act urgently.” The overall sex ratio in the country improved from 933 to 940, the highest recorded sex ratio since the 1971 census. For the first time in the last decade, females have outnumbered males in Goa which has recorded a 8.17 percent growth in overall population. Three states-J&K, Gujarat and Bihar, showed a decline in the sex ratio.  
Population of children (0-6 years):
The population of children (0-6 years) in the country has recorded a decline of about five million over the previous census, according to provisional results Census 2011. While the decline in male population (0-6 years) is 2.42 percent, it is higher at 3.80 percent in females. Uttar Pradesh (29.7 million), Bihar (18.6 million), Maharashtra (12.8 million), Madhya Pradesh (10.5 million) and Rajasthan (10.5 million) comprise 52 percent children in the 0-6 years age group. The total number of children in the country in the age group of 0-6 years is 158.8 million, about five million less than the 2001 census figures and marks a negative growth of 3.08 percent.
Population Growth:
On the plus side, the overall population growth rate is 17.6 in 2011, significantly lower than 2001 when it was 21.15 per cent. The period covered by this census -2001 to 2011 - is the first decade, with exception of 1911-1921, where the growth rate has declined. Among the states and Union territories, Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state with 199 million people and Lakshadweep the least populated at 64,429. The combined population of UP and Maharashtra is bigger than that of the US. During 2001-2011, India added nearly as many people as there are in Brazil. Uttar Pradesh has the largest proportion of the country’s population at 16 percent (If UP was a country, it would be the fifth most populous country in the world), followed by Maharashtra and Bihar (nine percent each), West Bengal (eight percent) and Andhra Pradesh (seven percent). While Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Puducherry has the highest population growth rate of about 55 percent, Nagaland has the lowest.
Five Largest States in India as per Population Count 2011:
Uttar Pradesh – 19.9 crores (199 Millions)
Maharashtra – 11.23 crores (112.3 million)
Bihar – 10.3 crores (103.8 million)
West Bengal – 9.13 crores (91.3 million)
Andhra Pradesh – 8.46 crores (84.6 million)
The percentage decadal growth rates of the six most populous states have declined during 2001-2011. They are:
Uttar Pradesh – 25.85 per cent to 20.09 per cent
Maharashtra – 22.73 per cent to 15.99 per cent
Bihar – 28.62 per cent to 25.07 per cent
West Bengal – 17.77 per cent to 13.93 per cent
Andhra Pradesh – 14.59 per cent to 11.10 per cent
Madhya Pradesh – 24.26 per cent to 20.23 per cent
Density of population:
Density of population of India rose from 325 persons per square km in 2001 to 382 in 2011. The density of population is highest in Bihar 1102, followed by West Bengal 1029,
Delhi 9340, Chandigarh 9252.
The right to education is a fundamental right  and UNESCO aims at education for all by 2015. India, along with the Arab states and sub-Saharan Africa, has a literacy level below the threshold level of 75%, but efforts are on to achieve that level. There is good news on the literacy front as the literacy rate has increased from 64.83 per cent in 2001 to 74.04 per cent in 2011 showing an increase of 9.21 per cent. Male literacy rate, at 82.14 is ahead of the female literacy rate of 65.46. The female literacy rate, however, posted greater gains, at 11.8 points increase between 2001 and 2011, compared with the male literacy rate, which only grew by 6.9 points. More females came into the fold of the literate than males.
Table of literacy rate (States & Union Territories):

RankStateLiteracy rate (2001 Census) Literacy rate (2011 Census) Decadal Change in Literacy rate (2001-2011) Literacy Rate-Male (2001 Census) Literacy rate-Male (2011 Census) Decadal Change in Male Literacy Rate(2001-2011) Literacy Rate-female (2001 Census) Literacy rate-Female (2011 Census) Decadal Change in Female Literacy Rate(2001-2011)
1Andaman & Nichobar81.3%86.3%5.0%86.3%90.1%3.8%75.2%81.8%6.6%
8Dadra & Nagar Haveli57.6%77.7%20.1%71.2%86.5%15.3%40.2%65.9%25.7%
9Daman &
14Himachal Pradesh76.5%83.8%7.3%85.3%90.8%5.5%67.4%76.6%9.2%%
15JJammu &
25Nagaland 66.6%80.1%13.5%71.2%83.3%12.1%61.5%76.7%15.2%
31Tamil Nadu73.5%80.3%6.8%82.4%86.8%4.4%64.4%73.9%9.5%
33Uttar Pradesh56.3%69.7%13.4%68.8.%79.2%10.4%42.2%59.3%17.1%
35West Bengal68.6%77.1%8.5%77.0%82.7%5.7%59.6.%71.2%11.6%

                                                   Source: 2001 and 2011 Census

Eleven states and Union Territories have recorded literacy rates below the national average of 74.04%. This include Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Over the last decade these states have improved literacy rates anywhere by 6.2% to 24%. While Bihar is the most laggard, at a literacy rate of 63.8%, it has made substantial improvement over its Census 2001 performance of 47%. The most impressive gain was made by Jharkhand, which improved on its Census 2001 figure of 53.6%. The state's literacy rate is 67.6%.  In Rajasthan, the male literacy rate is 80.51%, while the female literacy rate is 52.66%. This is a huge gap. The Goa’s overall literacy rate in the state stood at 87.40 per cent and the same is 92.81 percent among males and 81.84 percent in females.
More heartrendingly new female literates outnumbered male literates during the past decade. Ten states and union terriorities achieved a literacy rate of above 85%. This is an achievement India can be proud of.
Total Fertility Rate:
The total fertility rate (TFR) is a more direct measure of the level of fertility than the crude birth rate, since it refers to births per woman. In 2000, the country established a new National Population Policy to stem the growth of the country’s population. One of the primary goals of the policy was to reduce the total fertility rate to 2.1 by 2010. The present total fertility rate in India remains at the high number of 2.62. Thus, India’s population will continue to grow at a rapid rate. The U.S. Census Bureau does predict a near-replacement total fertility rate of 2.2 to be achieved in India in the year 2050.
Demographers expect India's population to surpass the population of China, currently the most populous country in the world, by 2030. At that time, India is expected to have a population of more than 1.53 billion while China’s population is forecast to be at its peak of 1.46 billion (and will begin to drop in subsequent years).
To conclude, although India has created several impressive goals to reduce its population growth rates, it has a long way to go to achieve meaningful population controls to reap the benefits of our plans.

      1.  Census of India Website: Office of the Registrar General& Census
           Commissioner, India
2.   The Times of India, dated: 31-03-2011
  1. Size, Growth Rate and Distribution of Population”: http// www.censusof India.
  1. 2011: NAC to take up matter of alarming fall in child sex ratio
The Economic Times:  8-04-2011


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