Amid COVID-19 and health protocols, concerns were raised over the exercise that was scheduled to be held from April 1 to Sept 30 this year
New Delhi: The first phase of Census 2021 has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre told Parliament on Wednesday. The exercise was scheduled to be held from April 1 to September 30 this year.
The Centre, in response to a question by put up by Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa, said that the initial phase of the census, which would have otherwise included activities such as update of the contentious National Population Register (NPR), has been deferred.
According to reports, the exercise may be not be held at all this year although a final decision on the matter is yet to be made.
India's census is considered to be one of the largest administrative and statistical exercises in the world. It is once in a decade and normally involves around 30 lakh officials visiting every household across the the country.
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent health protocols, concerns were raised over the exercise.
"As the entire exercise needs the involvement of lakhs of officials and visit to each family, we can't underestimate the health risks involved," a senior government official told news agency PTI last month. "The census is not an essential exercise for now. Even if it is delayed by a year, there would be no harm," the official added.
The total number of coronavirus cases in India reached 5,020,360 on Wednesday (September 16), as of 8 am, with the death toll standing at 82,066.
According to the latest updates provided by the Union health ministry, there are 995,933 active cases with 82,066 deaths so far in the country. As many as 3,942,360 patients have been cured or discharged and one has migrated.