Press Trust of india

Census, NPR unlikely in 2024 too as only Rs 1277 cr allocated in budget

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New Delhi: The interim budget 2024-24 on Thursday allocated Rs 1,277.80 crore for census, a significant reduction from 2021-22 when Rs 3,768 crore was allocated and an indication that the exercise may not be carried out even after three years of delay.

A meeting of the Union cabinet on December 24, 2019 had approved the proposal for conducting census of India 2021 at a cost of Rs 8,754.23 crore and updating the National Population Register (NPR) at a cost of Rs 3,941.35 crore.

The house listing phase of the census and the exercise to update the NPR were scheduled to be carried out across the country from April 1 to September 30, 2020 but postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The census operation continues to be on hold and the government has not yet announced the new schedule.

Officials said since general elections are due this year, the census is unlikely to be carried out in 2024.

According to the interim budget, Rs 1277.80 crore has been allocated for census surveys and statistics (Rs 520.96 in 2023-24).

The entire census and NPR exercise is likely to cost the government over Rs 12,000 crore, officials said.

This exercise, whenever it will happen, will be the first digital census giving citizens an opportunity to self-enumerate.

The NPR has been made compulsory for citizens who want to exercise the right to fill the census form on their own rather than through government enumerators. For this, the census authority has designed a self-enumeration portal which is yet to be launched.

During self-enumeration, Aadhaar or mobile number will be mandatorily collected.

The Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner had prepared 31 questions to be asked to the citizens.

Those questions include whether a family has telephone, internet connection, mobile or smartphone, bicycle, scooter or motorcycle or moped, whether they own a car, jeep or a van.

The citizens will also be asked what is the cereal they consume in the household, main source of drinking water, main source of lighting, access to latrine, type of latrine, waste water outlet, availability of bathing facility, availability of kitchen and LPG/PNG connection, main fuel used for cooking, availability of radio, transistor, television etc.

The citizens will also be asked about the predominant material of floor, wall and roof of the census house, condition of the census house, total number of persons normally residing in the household, whether head of the household is a woman, whether the head of the household belongs to Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, number of dwelling rooms exclusively in possession of the household, number of married couple(s) living in the household among others.

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