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After the successful completion of pilot project on identity card, the Government of India is planning to prepare the National Population Register (NPR) with the 2011 Census. It will have specified characteristics of each individual, including photograph and finger biometrics.
Inaugurating the two day Data Users Conference for the 2011 Census here today, organised by the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commission, the Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil observed that the creation of NPR might usher in the era of register-based census in the country.
He further said that it would help in future to have the estimates of population on a real time basis by combining it with the system of registration of births and deaths in the country.
Pointing out that the population of India is expected to reach 1.2 billion by 2011, he said that the difficult areas and difficult populations should be identified in advance so that no person in any household is left unrecorded and no area is left untouched.
He informed that a Committee has been set up under the Chairmanship of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India to look at the provisions of the India Census Act, 1948 and consider providing for supervision by independent observers, wherever deemed essential.
The Home Minister emphasised the need to use technology at every possible stage of the census planning and census taking, while adding that a number of new technologies have emerged and matured over the past decade.
He said that the endeavour of census organisation should be to complete the release of the 2011 data within two to three years from the date of completion of census.
Addressing the conference, the Minister of State for Home Shakeel Ahmed mentioned that innovations have been made from time to time in the process of census taking.
He said that for the 2011 census, database of village boundary and location for each sub-district has been digitally prepared and for the towns, the census organisation has undertaken preparation of digital geographic database with the support of Survey of India.
Ahmed said that a Group under the Registrar General of India in the context of National e-Governance project is examining standardisation of the name and address system in the country. Once in place, this would help reduce the omission rate at census considerably.
The Minister observed that the focus of data dissemination would continue to be more on electronic media and the data dissemination strategy would aim at developing a healthy camaraderie with all sections of data users, both within the government and outside.
Earlier, the Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta said that India has not only an exceptional record as a country of having uninterrupted decennial censuses but also of managing the census within an affordable cost.
He further informed that the cost of the 2001 census was Rs 1,403 crore which comes to Rs 14 per person.
Gupta stressed that there was a need to ensure that the number of questions in the next census did not become so large as to disturb the balance which is essential to maintain between the enumerator's motivation and respondent's fatigue.