March 30, 2023

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India is on track to become the world’s most populous country, but how many people it has is unknown

NEW DELHI – Within two months, India will become the most populous country in the world, with More than 1400 million people. But at least for a year, and more, The country doesn’t know how many there are because they can’t be counted.

India’s 10-year census, scheduled for 2021, has been delayed due to the pandemic. Technical and logistical barriersAnd there’s no sign that the massive exercise is going to start anytime soon.

Experts say Delay in updating data on employment, housing, literacy levels, migration patterns and infant mortalityCensus data informs social and economic planning and policy-making in Asia’s largest economy.

People unite as a vehicle carrying the casket believed to contain the Buddha’s remains is carried in a procession, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023, in Mumbai, India.Rafiq Maqbool – A.B

Rachana Sharma, a researcher on national finance and public policy, calls census data “essential” and surveys such as the Consumer Expenditure Survey and the Periodic Labor Force Survey are based on census data.

“In the absence of the most recent census data, the estimates are based on data from a decade ago and are likely to give estimates that are far from the truth,” Sharma said.

A senior official of the Ministry of Statistics and Project Implementation agreed 2011 Census dataAt last count, They were used for the projections and estimates needed to estimate public expenditures.

A spokesman for the ministry explained that its role is limited to providing best estimates and cannot comment on the census process. The Prime Minister’s Office did not respond to requests for comment.

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Two other officials, one from the Ministry of Home Affairs and one from the Registrar General of India, attributed the delay largely to the delay. Government decision to refine the census process and make it foolproof with the help of technology.

A Home Office official said the software will be used to collect census data A mobile phone application It should be synchronized with existing identity databases, including the so-called National Identity Document AadhaarIt takes time.

The General Register Office of India, which is responsible for the census, did not respond to a request for comment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a tour ahead of the BJP National Executive Committee meeting on January 16, 2023 in New Delhi, India.Hindustan Times – Hindustan Times

The main opposition Congress and critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, They accused the government of delaying the census to hide information on issues of political importanceas UnemploymentAhead of national elections scheduled for 2024.

“This government often shows its obvious competition with data”Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said. “On important issues like employment, Covid deaths, we have seen how the Modi government wants to hide important data.”

Gopal Krishna Aggarwal, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s national spokesperson, dismissed the criticism.

“I want to know on what basis they are saying this. What social criterion is there that our performance in nine years is worse than yours in 65 years?” He mentioned the years when the Congress party was in power.

According to the United Nations, the population India may reach 1,425,775,850 people on April 14It beat China that day.

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According to the 2011 census, India has a population of 1.21 billion, i.e. the country Its population has grown by 210 millionThe same number of people as Brazil in 12 years.

The Census of India sampled about 330,000 public school teachers First they go door to door and enumerate all the houses in the country and then return to them with a second list of questions. According to the plan for 2021, two dozen questions are asked simultaneously in 16 languages ​​in two phases lasting 11 months.

The figures are tabulated and the final data is made public after several months. The total training cost is estimated to be Rs 87,500 crore.1.05 billion dollarsIn 2019.

The main opposition Congress and critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have accused the government of delaying the census to hide data on politically sensitive issues such as unemployment.Sajad Hussain – AFP

However, teachers returned to school after being suspended due to the pandemic and had to celebrate Nine state elections in 2023 and national elections in 2024. In addition to the census, this again disrupts teaching. There is also a problem with payment.

said Arvind Mishra, a senior official of the All India Primary Teachers Federation, which has 2.3 million members. Teachers should be legally assisted in conducting elections and censuses, but the government should raise the fees they receive.

“They should put in place a proper payment mechanism for training,” Mishra said. “Teachers deserve respect and can’t claim refunds for conduct The biggest counting exercise on the planet”.

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A former senior official of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the government agency that runs the successful National Identification Scheme AadhaarHowever, the ID program sought to downplay the decennial census data by claiming it was a “real, real-time” census.

According to UIDAI, As of December 31, 2022, 1.3 billion people have registered Aadhaar, compared to the then expected population of 1.37 billion. According to a former UIDAI official, the gap is mainly due to Unregistered children and unupdated deaths.

India’s former Chief Statistician Bronab Sen said The Sample Registration System (SRS), which calculates birth and death rates, shows the rate of population growth with reasonable accuracy.

Unlike AadhaarThe SRS survey calculates a representative sample of births and deaths and uses it to present figures for a wider area.

“It’s not accurate,” Chen said. “The problem is that if you take the country as a whole, the SRS and the projections we have are reasonably accurate. What it doesn’t give you is the distribution of people in different geographic areas of the country.

Reuters Agency


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