Census-2011 to cover illegal immigrants too

February 2nd, 2011 - 10:01 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram New Delhi, Feb 2 (IANS) The massive Census-2011 exercise beginning next week will enumerate all residents of India, including illegal immigrants, a top official said here Wednesday. The exercise will, however, not seek information on the caste of the enumerated population, as such an effort will be taken up separately in another phase to be held between June and September this year.

“The exercise will cover anyone living in India and enumerator will not ask their nationality. Everybody will be counted even if they have illegally entered (India),” Registrar-General and Census Commissioner C. Chandramouli told reporters at a function where Home Minister P. Chidambaram unveiled the exercise personnel’s logo.

The official was replying to a question if illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh too would be enumerated as part of Census-2011.

Making it clear that the information about the enumerated individuals would be totally confidential, Chandramouli said the details collected under the census would be inaccessible even to a court of law.

All houses, religious places and public places, except foreign embassies and consulates, would be covered by the enumerators during the census for which the government would spend Rs.2,200 crore (about $500 million).

The most important task of the enumerators - to collect details of the general population of the country - will happen from Feb 9 and 28 and cover 7,742 towns and six lakh villages in 640 districts. At a cost of Rs.18.33 for every person enumerated, this would be one of the most cost-effective census exercise.

Census-2011, the biggest-ever exercise any country in the world has ever attempted, is tasked to collect details such as gender, religion, occupation and educational qualification of the country’s 1.2 billion population across a combined 35 states and union territories.

For the first time, the census would cover details such as ownership of mobile phones, computers, internet connection, supply of drinking water and its quality, bank account-holders and availing of banking services.

The exercise would seek additional information from individuals that would enable the government to prepare a National Population Register (NPR).

“Over 2.5 million personnel will be engaged in this exercise. The fact that many countries around the world do not have a population that will equal the number of officials engaged to carry out the Indian census is an indication of the size of the operation,” Chandramouli said at the function.

The exercise, to be spread in phases over next 11 months, would be a watershed event with the first-ever NPR being prepared alongside.

Under the NPR, all Indian residents over 15 years would be photographed, their fingerprint collected and a biometric national database created, making India probably the first democracy in the world to have such an exhaustive register.

This NPR would be the basic database with which the Unique Identification Authority of India would generate its unique identity number for the entire population of the country and issue the proposed identity smart card.

Under Census-2011, the population enumeration in snow-bound areas of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and other such parts of the country was completed late last year.

The migrating population of the country would be enumerated Feb 28 night at all airports, railway stations, sea ports and bus terminals.

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