In the second phase of the decennial Census exercise that will be conducted in February 2021, respondents will have the option to fill in details on their own, a senior government official said.
The ‘population enumeration’ phase of the Census — which is to be carried out from February 9 to 28, 2021 — will have the facility of online self-enumeration for the public.
An official explained that the respondent could register online and fill in the details and share the reference number with the enumerators when they arrive.
Around 30 lakh enumerators, who are mostly government officials and government school teachers, will each be assigned the responsibility of collecting details of about 650-800 people through both online and offline modes.
The self-enumeration option will, however, not be available in the first phase — the House Listing and Housing Census that is to be carried out from April 1 to September 30, 2020.
The National Population Register (NPR), which has been objected to by several non-BJP ruled States, will also be updated simultaneously in the first phase.
A day ago, the Kerala Cabinet took a decision that the State government would fully cooperate with Census 2021 but it was hard-pressed to cooperate with the work related to the NPR as people were deeply concerned that it was a precursor to the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC).
States to be sensitised
Earlier, the Kerala and West Bengal governments had informed the Registrar General of India (RGI) to halt the NPR exercise, citing the maintenance of “public order”.
Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy said on Tuesday that the NPR was a “constitutional obligation”, and the Centre would keep on sensitising the States as disclosing information under the NPR is voluntary.
On January 9, the RGI notified the 31 columns for which the enumerators will seek response for the House Listing and Housing Census. The information asked would be whether the respondent has access to LPG/PNG connection, if the person owns a radio, transistor or television, has access to the Internet, and whether they own a laptop, computer, telephone, mobile phone, among other things.
In a series of tweets on Tuesday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the 2021 would be the first ever census to be conducted with a mixed mode approach – a mobile app (created in-house by RGI office) and will have facility for online self enumeration for the public during population enumeration phase.
“The Indian census is the largest administrative and statistical exercise in the world, with more than 30 lakh functionaries, and at the cost of about 8700 crore rupees…While confidentiality about your data is guaranteed by Census Act, 1948; the same law specifies penalty for BOTH public AND census officials for non-compliance or violation of any provision of the Act,” MHA tweeted.