First phase of Census 2021 postponed
The first phase of Census 2021 and NPR (National Population Register) data collection has been postponed till September this year, at least. Earlier in December, the Registrar General of India (RGI) had informed the states that Census had been postponed till June 2022, freezing boundaries of districts, sub-districts, tehsils, talukas, police stations, etc. It is to be noted that freezing of boundaries of administrative units is a pre-requisite for conducting a census and must be done at least before three months to the census.
Now if the RGI orders to freeze the boundary limits even in June, the Census and NPR data collection cannot take place before September.
Finalization of administrative units includes covering all jurisdictional changes in any administrative area between two consecutive censuses. According to provisional data by the RGI till June 2021, the number of districts has increased from 640 in 2011 to 736. The number of sub-districts has increased from 5,925 to 6,754, statutory towns from 4,041 to 4,657, census towns from 3,892 to 5,050. However, the number of villages has gone down from 6,40,934 in 2011 to 6,39,083 in 2021.
In July 2020, RGI had informed the States that after the pandemic struck, the fieldwork and other related activities of the first phase of Census 2021 have been postponed until further orders. “Subsequent to the postponement of census activities, requests were received from several State/Union Territory governments seeking clarifications/permission for creation/extension/up-gradation of different administrative units. Hence, it was decided to extend the date of freezing of boundaries up to December 31, 2020,” an RGI order said.
The first phase of Census 2021, which entails the House listing and Housing Census as well as NPR update, was scheduled for April-September, 2020 but due to the Covid-19 pandemic was postponed indefinitely. The second and main phase of the exercise, which is population enumeration, was to be finished by March 5, 2021.