Poverty, caste census will be almost paperless

The six-month long census for conducting a head count of poor people, along with their caste and religious affiliations, will be almost paperless as the enumerators will be armed with low-cost tablet computers.

Last Updated: May 19, 2011, 19:44 PM IST

New Delhi: The six-month long census for conducting a head count of poor people, along with their caste and religious affiliations, will be almost paperless as the enumerators will be armed with low-cost tablet computers.

The cabinet Thursday approved the conduct of the survey, which will begin in June and will be completed by December. It will be jointly organised by the ministries of rural development and housing and urban poverty alleviation, and the Registrar General and the Census Commissioner of India.

"Paperwork (in the survey) will be almost eliminated," said Sanjay Kumar Rakesh, joint secretary in the rural development ministry.

An unit of two people will go to each household across the country, one to ask questions and the other to directly type in the answers into a hand-held computer.

There will around 14 lakh government employees involved in the information collection, which will includev six to seven lakh enumerators and the rest as data entry operators.

The size of a small notebook, the personal computer has a touchscreen, as well as a small keyboard. It has been manufactured by Bharat Electronics Ltd, and has already been "pre-populated" from the results of the National Population Register 2011.

"Once the is entered, it will be read back for confirmation. Lastly, the signature of the person will be taken," he said.

This information will be directly uploaded into the database at four data centres.

"The time lag to convert the paper data into digital database has been done away with. That`s why we will be able to complete the survey in six months. Also, the preliminary results will be released early, say by March (2012)," said Rakesh.

IANS