The Census enumeration scheduled for 2021 in India has been further delayed until 2024-25. The office of the Registrar General of India (RGI) has extended the deadline for freezing administrative boundaries to January 1, 2024, according to a recent letter sent to all states and Union Territories.
The postponement of the Census enumeration is due to the requirement of frozen administrative boundaries before the enumeration can begin. Additionally, with general elections scheduled for early next year, conducting the Census in 2023 is no longer feasible. The Census enumeration is preceded by house-listing enumeration, which includes the exercise for the National Population Register (NPR).
The deadline for jurisdictional changes was previously set for June 30, 2023, but it was later extended to December 31, 2022. The budget allocated for Census 2021 has also been reduced from Rs 3,676 crore in the last budget to Rs 1,564 crore in the current budget, out of a total of Rs 1.96 crore allocated from the Union Budget for 2023-24.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had earlier announced the government’s plan to link birth and death data with electoral rolls and the overall development process. The Census data plays a crucial role in planning and ensuring development reaches the most vulnerable sections of society.
The RGI cited the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic as the reason for the deadline extension, as it has affected the vaccination drive and increased the risk of virus spread. Similar extensions have been granted in the past due to the pandemic. As per Census Rules, the boundaries of administrative units are frozen from a date specified by the Census Commissioner, which is typically not earlier than one year from the Census reference date.
Despite the delay, the government aims to carry out a digital, complete, and accurate Census to facilitate effective planning and development initiatives. The availability of reliable data is crucial for targeted development and improved governance.
Allocation of Budget for Census 2021
|Budget Year||Allocated Amount (in crore)|