New Delhi: Union Minister for Home Affairs, Shri Amit Shah presided as Chief Guest over the Foundation Stone laying ceremony of Janganana Bhawan in New Delhi today. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Nityanand Rai also graced the occasion as the Guest of Honour.
Addressing the gathering, Shri Shah said that a scientific Census process is seminal in the development of not only the social flow in the Nation, but also for laying out the future plan of development for the last man in the society. The Home Minister expressed confidence that the Janganana Bhawan building would get completed well in time and that the mammoth exercise of the Census 2021 would get completed here and the Census figures would be announced to the Nation from this building only. Shri Shah informed that the upcoming Janganana Bhawan would be a Green Building. He added that the concept of Green Buildings needs to be popularised in the country and the Government is taking forward this concept with buildings like the Janganana Bhawan.
Stressing on the importance of people’s participation in the Census process, the Home Minister observed that 130 crore Indians need to be made aware about the importance of Census, as it is the foundation for long-term future planning for growth and development in the country. The valuable data generated from the Census exercise is useful for multifarious developmental activities. Each citizen would be able to participate in country’s development process only when they are aware of the multidimensionality of the Census process and the data it generates, he added.
Tracing the history of the Census process in India, Shri Shah said that Census is a centuries old tradition in India. Earlier, it used to be a decentralised exercise, happening individually in villages and janpads. He talked about the inception of modern census exercise in British India and how it progressed in successive decades to evolve into an efficiently planned process in recent decades by using latest technology.
Talking about the use of latest technological developments during the Census 2021 process, Shri Shah said that the process of a ‘Pen-Paper Census’ would be transformed to a ‘Digital Census’ in the upcoming Census exercise by using the latest technology. He informed that this step is a revolutionary initiative that is being taken during the Census 2021 exercise. In this process, people would be able to upload the details of self and family on the newly developed mobile app themselves. Shri Shah emphasized that besides maintaining the data in paper forms, availability of data in digital form would help in its detailed multi-dimensional analysis and utilisation for public welfare, using latest software. Home Minister congratulated the office of Registrar General of India (RGI) for this path breaking initiative.
Shri Shah informed that according to Census 2011 data, India comprises of 2.4% of global land area and resources, whereas houses 17.5% of the global population. These figures tell us how hard India has to work to achieve the required growth and development for its citizens in the times to come, by bridging the imbalance between resources and development needs, he added. The Home Minister expressed satisfaction that 2011 census also brought out good news that literacy rate in India increased to 74% and that India is a ‘Young Nation’.
Shri Shah informed that the 2021 census would be, inter alia, an exercise in the study of human resources, public life, culture and economic infrastructure in the country. It would function as the building block for scientific planning of the future economic development in the country. He added that constituencies would get delimited based on this census data, which would lead to strengthening of the democratic process in India at all levels. It is of great importance that this Census becomes a ‘Jan Bhagidari’ exercise like never before.
Shri Shah encouraged the officials of RGI and said that everyone present here has an important role in laying the foundation stone of future growth and development of the country. Each one of us has to work whole-heartedly in the direction to make this Census exercise a success. In the times to come, this effort would be your precious contribution in strengthening the economic growth and democratic process in the country, he added.
Shri Shah informed that this is the first time that the National Population Register (NPR) would come into being as the result of the Census exercise. This is a new initiative altogether which would be a solution to multifarious problems facing the country that range from effective maintenance of law and order to efficient implantation of welfare schemes like MGNREGS, food security and nutrition campaigns etc., he added.
Talking about how this government takes a holistic view of the planning process, Shri Shah remembered how prior to 2014, the planning process in India was piecemeal and in disconnected parts. Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi gave a vision of reforming the planning process to evolve it into a scientifically planned and efficiently executed process, keeping in mind the development needs of the last man in the society. From this vision, the process of utilizing the Census data holistically began for the first time in India.
The Home Minister gave the example of how the Census 2011 data was efficiently utilised under the Ujjwala Yojana. The LPG connection beneficiaries were mapped digitally and based on the data analysis, the government got to know about the disparity in the spatial distribution of LPG connections. Subsequently, a well planned LPG connection distribution process was initiated and today 8 crore LPG connections have been distributed in last 5 years and now over 95% of the people have gas connections, he said. Based on 2021 figures, it would be ensured that no one is left without an LPG connection when the Nation celebrates the 75th anniversary of its Independence in 2022, he added.
Underlying the importance of the Census exercise, Shri Shah emphasized that this exercise must not be taken as a one-time, monotonous exercise. It needs to be remembered that this exercise would lead to development in the Nation for next many decades to come and bring smiles to the people of the country. The Home Minister informed that 22 welfare schemes of the government have been mapped based on these Census figures only. Whether it is providing clean drinking water, road connectivity, electricity, opening bank branches or health and education infrastructure, sanitation or food and civil supply, the basic planning for delivery of public services is based on the Census data. Shri Shah took the example of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme, wherein the challenging task of saving the girl child and increasing female literacy was accomplished by efficient targeting of awareness campaigns and other welfare schemes across the country. Based on this, he also gave example of Haryana’s efficient use of census information to improve its track record regarding child sex ratio. Such accomplishments can only take place when the process of Census is fool-proof and accurate, he added.
Stressing on the importance of Census exercise being complete and holistic, the Home Minister said that this Census would be conducted in major Indian languages and on the mobile app so as to facilitate the people to easily update their details digitally, in their own language. He said that the importance of this vast exercise can be understood from the fact that the Government is going to spend around Rs. 12000 crores during the Census 2021 and developing the NPR, which is the highest ever. He further added that the officers of the RGI who are present here from across the country are responsible to make this digital census exercise a success. Everyone must realise the multi-dimensional uses and benefits of going digital in this exercise.
Talking about the future potential of an efficient and scientific digital Census process, Shri Shah said that digital census has a great future potential and if efficiently done, it could lead to provision of public services through one platform. He clarified that the government has not taken any decision in this regard.
Calling all officials and people of India to whole-heartedly participate in the Census 2021 process, Shri Shah termed this exercise as a ‘RASHTRIYA YAGYA’, which requires a cooperative and collaborative effort by all officials and people of the country. It is a process that requires contribution from everyone to make it a success. “It is my firm belief that this bhawan would become the boiling pot of India’s economic growth, democratic empowerment of people and removal of poverty from India”, he concluded.
Other dignitaries present on the dais included Union Home Secretary, Shri Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Secretary (Border Management), Shri B.R. Sharma and Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, Shri Vivek Joshi, along with other senior officers of the Ministry and of RGI from across the country.