Census: Citizens to be allowed to self-enumerate online

Home visit by the enumerators for collecting census data will continue as in the past

New Delhi: The citizens of the country, if they wish, will be able to self-enumerate online in the upcoming census as the government has amended the rules that allowed the census schedule, which contains questions to be asked during the decennial exercise, to be both on paper and in electronic forms.

According to the Census (Amendment) Rules, 2022 issued late on Friday night, the phrase "electronic form" shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in clause (R) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 -- any information generated, sent, received or stored in media, magnetic, optical, computer memory, microfilm, computer generated micro fiche or similar device.

Apart from allowing the provision of online self-enumeration, home visit by the enumerators for collecting census data will continue as in the past.

The housing listing phase of the census and the exercise to update the NPR were scheduled to be carried out across the country from April 1 to September 30, 2020, but got postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to the earlier schedule, the census would have its reference date as March 1, 2021 and in snow-bound Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, it would have been October 1, 2020.

The census operation continues to be on hold and the government is yet to announce the new schedule.

The new rules define self-enumeration as "filling-up, completion and submission of census schedule by respondents themselves".

In Rule 5, which deals with the publishing of the census statistics through publications of magnetic media, the word "media" has been replaced with "electronic or any other media".

A clause has been added to Rule 6 to allow filling up of the census schedule through self-enumeration.

"Without prejudice to any other provisions of these rules, a person may fill-up, complete and submit the census schedule through self-enumeration," according to the rules notified by the Union home ministry.

Rule 8 has an addition: "print media, electronic media, social media", to the list of modes for ensuring wide publicity for the exercise.

The earlier list only included radio, audio-visuals and posters.

Rule 9 has been updated to allow the census schedules filled through self-enumeration to be kept along with the census schedules and the connected papers canvassed by the enumerators at the office of the director of census operations or at such other place that the census commissioner may direct for the processing of the data as collected.

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