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India Puts Off Census Exercise Indefinitely Due To Covid-19 Pandemic

Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai informed the Parliament on Tuesday that census-related field activities have been “postponed till further orders” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The extension of deadlines for processes required before the census can take place, freezing of administrative boundaries and listing of houses. PTI reported that in a letter sent to all states and Union territories in June, the office of the Registrar General of India (RGI) had extended the deadline for the freezing of administrative boundaries to December 31, 2022.

The census in India is held every 10 years. The last one was conducted in February-March 2011, and the next exercise was scheduled to be over by March 2021 but was delayed due to the pandemic.

The Census Rules of 1990 mention that administrative boundaries of districts, tehsils and towns cannot be frozen more than one year before the census date and, therefore, requires states and UTs to provide details of changes made in the boundaries to the RGI after the freezing.

“Freeze the administrative boundaries of districts, tehsils, towns, etc., from the date to be intimated by the Census Commissioner who shall not be earlier than one year from the census reference date and till the completion of the census,” Rule 8 (iv) says.

Since the freezing of boundaries will now not take place before December, there is no chance of a census this year. Moreover, a process of house-listing has to be completed before the census. This deadline is now extended, which was earlier fixed at 30 June.

First Published:  IST

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