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Know Your Enumerator
A billon plus persons to be counted by visiting 240 million households in just three
weeks! Is this feasible? Can this be done?? What would be the quality of such an
exercise??? Questions that naturally arise in everyone’s mind. I too had the same
doubts when I was told that I was selected to be a part of this exercise. Today,
the last day of training, I am confident that the task would be accomplished as
efficiently and with the same degree of quality that it is known the world over
for the last century and more. You must be wondering who I am and what I am talking
about? Well, I am one among a million, nay two and a half million persons that have
been selected as an Enumerator for Census 2011. I really deem it a privilege to
have been given this unique opportunity to contribute my bit to a great National
cause and let me share with you why. Firstly, the task is a historical one – I am
part of a tradition that started in India in 1872 and has been a continuous feature
every decade without a break. When I learnt that very few countries in the world
have such a legacy my heart swells with pride! Secondly, I am part of a task that
is billed as the largest peacetime operation in the world. I understand that no
other country in the world conducts such a comprehensive exercise. It feels great
to be part of this team.
That apart, it is the relevance of the work that really makes me happy to take part.
When I realize that the data that I am going to collect is going to be the basis
on which development plans are going to be based and that indirectly I will be contributing
to the task of nation building, I feel the small effort that I am going to take
is really worthwhile.
Today, after the three days of thorough training I have been given my confidence
is high. The questions that plagued me have been resolved. The gigantic task that
looked so unrealistic now seems quite achievable, why even simple. I only have to
visit around 125 households and count a population of approximately 750-800 people
in the three weeks from 9th to 28th February 2011. That means I only have to visit
5-6 households a day! As small drops of water make a mighty ocean, the 2.5 million
enumerators would achieve the task of counting the 240 million households without
As regards quality, I have been trained comprehensively on all aspects of the Census.
The instruction manuals are exhaustive with illustrations and filled-in examples.
Moreover they are in my own language- I am given to understand that the manuals
are available in 18 Indian languages. Really a remarkable thing! Even more interesting
is the way the training was imparted by my master trainer with role-play, discussion
etc. The e-learning module has been particularly impressive as these illustrate
the difficulties an enumerator faces while canvassing the schedule and how one can
overcome them. I am a teacher but I too learnt a trick or two from the trainers.
It is also such a relief that I can also call on the Help Line Number 1800-345-0111
for any clarification. Thank god for modern technology!
The schedules are quite impressive too. The high quality of printing, the numbering
of each schedule, the bar-code and the pleasant colour are things that stand out.
I am told these forms have been specially designed and match the best in the world.
Quite natural- the best Census should have the best inputs.
Confident as I am, I still have butterflies in my stomach when I think about entering
the homes of total strangers and asking them personal questions. I draw comfort
from the fact that the Census Act has bestowed upon me certain statutory powers
that make my task simpler. At the same time I am sobered by the realization that
the same Act also has cast certain duties upon me. No wonder they say, with great
power comes great responsibility! On the other hand, I am excited too. Some of my
colleagues who took part in the previous Census narrated how they met interesting
people and had unforgettable experiences. Maybe I will write an article or even
a book on my experiences. I am eager to start!