Census delayed further; states told to freeze their borders
The census housing listing phase and the exercise to update the National Population Register (NPR) were scheduled to take place across the country from April 1 to September 30, 2020; however, it was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The decennial census has been deferred again, at least until September 30, an official said. The census housing listing phase and the exercise to update the National Population Register (NPR) were scheduled to take place across the country from April 1 to September 30, 2020; however, it was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In its notice to all states, the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India informed all states that the date for freezing administrative boundaries had been extended until June 30.
A census, according to the norms, can only be conducted three months after the freezing of boundary limits of administrative units, including districts, sub-districts, tehsils, talukas, and police stations.
In their letter, the census authorities referred to an earlier communication to extend the date of boundary freezing up to December 31, 2020. They said that the competent authority has now decided to extend the date of boundary freezing further.
The administrative unit boundaries for the upcoming census will now be freezed with effect from July 1, 2023. The finalisation of administrative unit boundaries entails covering all jurisdictional changes between two consecutive censuses.
Following the communication, state governments must implement any changes in administrative boundaries by June 30, 2023, and send copies of notifications on jurisdictional changes to the Directorate of Census Operations in the state or Union Territory concerned, with an endorsement to the census authorities in Delhi.
The administrative boundary freeze was in effect from January 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Later, census officials said that since the Census 2021 had been postponed until further orders were issued and several requests for permission to create new units were received from states, the date of freezing of boundaries was extended until December 31, 2020.
It was then extended twice, once until December 31, 2021, and again until December 31, 2022.
Following the previous schedule, the census's reference date would have been March 1, 2021, and October 1, 2020, in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.
The census operation is still on hold, and the government has yet to announce a new schedule.
(With inputs from PTI)