Census officials collect details from village women.Reuters

The office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner has initiated the process for conducting the population census of 2021 and, for the first time, data will be collected on Other Backward Class (OBC), sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) have said.

According to IANS, the office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner has started to conduct meetings with all the state and Central government ministries and departments, along with other stakeholders, to map out the process and other modalities that would be required to conduct the population census for 2021. The "house listing" would begin from 2020 and teams for conducting the physical survey and headcount would begin from February 2021.

Sources have also said that a high-level meeting with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has already taken place to frame the broad roadmap that would be undertaken to conduct the population census for 2021. The 2021 exercise will use improved technological intervention to ensure that the whole data was finalised within three years. For the first time, the census would be stored in an electronic format to digitalise the population census mechanism.

All the state governments have been asked to furnish the details of the administrative changes, including changes in the boundaries of districts, the jurisdiction of districts, creation of new districts, the creation of towns and villages, de-notification or merging of villages and towns. There are a total of 718 districts across the country and these will be covered for the census survey.

A highly placed source in the MHA said, "The process has already been initiated and vital inputs from the state governments, required for conducting the population census for 2021, have been sought. The process of receiving inputs from the states and scrutinising the process will continue till the end of December 2019. Meetings on a regular basis are also underway."

The population census is a decennial exercise conducted every 10 years, under the provisions of The Census Act 1948. The first census in independent India was conducted in 1951, while the last census was conducted in 2011.

(With inputs from IANS)