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  • Population Census provides basic statistics on state of human resources, demography, culture and economic structure at local, regional and national level.
  • Beginning in the year 1872, when the first census was conducted non-synchronously, the census enumeration exercise in India is carried out in every 10 years.
    • The first synchronous census was taken under British rule in 1881.
    • The responsibility of conducting the decadal census rests with the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, Ministry of Home Affairs.


Population census is listed in Union List (entry 69) of Seventh Schedule in Indian Constitution.

Census is conducted under the provisions of the Census Act, 1948. 


  • The Census Operations in India have been carried out in two phases:
    • Houselisting and Housing Census and
    • Population Enumeration.
  • The Population Enumeration follows the Housing Census within a gap of six to eight months.
  • In Population Enumeration phase each person is enumerated and her/his individual particulars like Age, Marital status, Religion, Schedule Caste/Scheduled Tribe, Mother tongue, Education level, Disability, Economic activity, Migration, Fertility (for female) are collected.


  • The Census provides population data and characteristics, housing and amenities for every village and town.
  • It helps in framing government programs to uplift vulnerable sections and it is used to validate or reject estimates of various sample surveys.
  • The Census data are used to determine the number of seats to be reserved for SCs, STs in Parliament and State legislatures and delimitation of constituencies.
  • In case of panchayats and municipal bodies, reservation of seats for SCs and STs is based on their proportion in the population. Other than the Census, there is no other source that can provide this information.
  • It is also the basis for reviewing the country’s progress in the past decade, monitoring the ongoing schemes of the government and planning for the future.


The 2021 census could not be carried out due to Covid 19 pandemic. If the house listing exercise is carried out next year, the actual population enumeration can take place in 2025.

The publication of the first results will take at least 1-2 years from then onwards.

This means that delimitation need not wait for 2031 census. It can happen on the basis of delayed 2021 census.

If everything progresses smoothly, 2029 General Elections can happen with increased no. of seats & women reservation for 1/3rd of the seats.

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