The earliest literature
'Rig-Veda' reveals that some kind of population count was maintained in during
800-600 BC in India. The celebrated 'Arthashastr' by 'Kautilya' written in the
3rd Century BC prescribed the collection of population statistics as a measure
of state policy for taxation. It contained a detailed description of methods of
conducting population, economic and agricultural censuses. During the regime of
the Mughal king Akbar, the administrative report 'Ain-e-Akbari' included
comprehensive data pertaining to population, industry, wealth and many other
A systematic and modern
population census, in its present form was conducted non synchronously between
1865 and 1872 in different parts of the country. This effort culminating in
1872 has been popularly labeled as the first population census of India
However, the first synchronous census in India was held in 1881. Since then,
censuses have been undertaken uninterruptedly once every ten year.
The Census of India 2001 was
the fourteenth census in the continuous series as reckoned from1872 and the
sixth since independence. The gigantic task of census taking was completed in
two phases. In the first phase, known as House -listing Operations, all
building and structures, residential, partly residential or non- residential
were identified and listed and the uses to which they were put recorded.
Information on houses, household amenities and assets were also collected. In
the second phase, known as Population Enumeration, more detailed information on
each individual residing in the country, Indian national or otherwise, during
the enumeration period was collected.
At the Census 2001, more than 2 million (or 20 lakh)
enumerators were deployed to collect the information by visiting every
household. The Indian Census is one of the largest administrative exercises
undertaken in the world.