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Census 2011 to be more inclusive
Census 2011 will modernise its questions and categories. Significantly, it will introduce an other category in gender, modify the definition of disability, and separate the categories of mental illness from mental retardation.

NEW DELHI: Census 2011 will for the first time include other as an option for the question on gender should respondents choose to identify themselves as neither male nor female.

The move is part of the effort by the Census, now in its 130th year, to modernize, revising some of its questions to better capture Indian realities, as well as taking its message to Facebook and Twitter. Another significant change is an expansion in the definition of disability to allow better capturing of the country's disabled population, thus far vastly under-reported.

The question has been moved up to the middle from the end, which plays an important role in reducing stigma. Then, the categories of 'mental illness' separate from mental retardation, any other and multiple disability have been added, Registrar General and Census Commissioner C Chandramouli told TOI.

Census 2011 is also trying to make improvements in two other areas: education and work-related info. The new form refines its not attending option on school attendance to read as never attended and attended before, so as to get a better picture of out-of-school children.

In the section on economic activity, while a marginal worker was formerly described as a person working less than six months a year, the category has been split into 3-6 months and less than 3 months. This is so that people who got work only on NREGA sites for the mandated 100 days a year can be identified. Sex work has been put into the category of others as against beggars.

The Census will begin simultaneously across the country on February 9 and over three weeks, 2.5 million enumerators mainly school teachers — will aim to cover every household, concluding the exercise by Feb 28. Revisions will be made between March 1 and 5, and within three weeks after that, the preliminary results for the population will be available.

We have been working toward reducing the time taken to put out all the reports from census data, said Chandramouli. This time around, we want to put out all the information within one-and-a-half years, he added, a big improvement from the five years taken in earlier censuses. This is thanks to a new scannable paper being used for the forms and handwriting recognition software that will allow all hand-filled forms to be scanned for data processing. In past censuses, demographers realized that there was significant bunching around numbers ending with a 0 or 5 in the age section as people often gave enumerators an approximation. Census 2011 will for the first time introduce a date of birth question in addition to rectify this. Separated and divorced have now been made separate options in the marital status section for better clarity.

The Census office is making a big push at getting the word out about the census across the country, even launching a Facebook and Twitter page. A teacher who was unhappy about having to take part in Census work has complained on the Facebook wall, but seems satisfied with the prompt response by the pages administrators, reminding her that she is doing a job of national importance and that her contribution is appreciated. Enumerators are respected and welcomed in rural areas, but often face difficulties in urban areas where they are turned away by security staff, Chandramouli added.

Source: Times of India

Theme : [Health] [Gender]