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(A). Background and Introduction :

It is well known that the Census organization, which has a long and fascinating history, is the premier organization for providing population statistics over a period of time and has laid the foundations of demographic research in India. But what is perhaps not so widely known is that it is also one of the pioneering organizations in India in the field of anthropological studies throwing light on economic, social and cultural life of the people comprising a spectrum of ethnic groups. In fact, it will not be wrong to say that the Indian Census has made significant contribution to the anthropological and ethnological studies and scholars have paid rich tribute to such studies.

The Indian Census has paid a good deal of attention to investigations of anthropological nature. In fact, much has been made out by some critics of its `preoccupation’ with castes and tribes and cognate anthropological enquiries in the earlier decades. But the Census organisation blended demographic studies and anthropological enquiries in a happy manner. The Indian Census has always been conscious of meeting the data needs and has accordingly always attempted to project such data as would meet the requirement of the times for administration, planning and development.

Since its inception in 1961 the Social Studies Division has under taken various types of studies as a part of Social studies. Worth mentioning among them are socio-economic survey of villages, survey of handicrafts and fair and festivals, preparation of ethnographic notes on scheduled castes and schedule tribes. The details of such studies /monographs published by the Social Studies Division as an ancillary studies during 1961, 1971 and 1981 Census are as under;

Since its inception in 1961 the Social Studies Division has under taken various types of studies as a part of Social studies. Worth mentioning among them are socio-economic survey of villages, survey of handicrafts and fair and festivals, preparation of ethnographic notes on scheduled castes and schedule tribes. The details of such studies /monographs published by the Social Studies Division as an ancillary studies during 1961, 1971 and 1981 Census are as under;.

1961 Census:-

Village Studies:

During the inter-censal period (1963-68) of 1961 Census about five hundred villages all over India were taken up for socio-economic surveys.  The villages were selected on a purposive basis to cover adequately geographical, occupational and ethnic diversity.  Some villages were of medium size with multi-ethnic population and having variegated occupations though primarily dependent on agriculture while others had one dominant community with one predominant occupation, like fishing, pottery, etc. or were primarily inhabited by a Scheduled Tribes.  About 331 such monographs based on survey of selected villages all over the country were published.

During the pre-independence era it was customary to provide some ethnographic data on castes and tribes.  The 1931 Census perhaps made the largest contribution in this regard. As part of 1961 census about 255 ethnographic monographs on different castes and tribes were published.

Handicraft Studies: -

A number of craft surveys were also undertaken as a part of 1961 census with the primary aim to obtain the picture of the artisan himself as of his craft, the extent to which tradition bound the craftsman and the manner in which he adjusted himself to the changed conditions, such as competition posed by modern technology and money economy etc.  In all about 150 reports on different crafts were brought out.

Studies of Fairs and Festivals:

Besides, in 1961 Census generally, in each state one volume was brought covering all the important fairs and festivals of the state. In state like Andhra Pradesh, district wise volume on fairs and festivals were brought out. In the Social Studies Division at the Centre, in-depth studies in respect of some of the major festivals like, ugadi and Moharram in two cities in Delhi and Lucknow were taken up. In all about 50 volumes on fairs and festivals were published.

1971 and 1981 Census:-

During 1971 and 1981 inter-censal period no fresh village study was undertaken.  However, during the periods attempts were made to re-study some of the villages studied during 1961 inter-censal period with a view to have an insight in the changing scene of  rural societies under the influence of planned development as well as industrialization and urbanization and other driving forces during the last decades.  The village selected for restudies primarily on the basis of their location in relation to nearby effective urban centre.  Besides, a few villages situated in specific area viz., Dry area, Rural Development plan area etc., were selected as inter-censal village restudies of 1971 and 1981 censuses during this period.  A total of 77 studies each in 1971 and 1981 census were taken up in inter- censal period. Of which 5 in 1971 Census and 63 reports in 1981 Census were published.

Town Studies: -

Till 1971 census the anthropological studies carried out by the Census organization were mostly confined to backward groups and rural societies. As ancillary to 1971 Census, for the first time the Census of India attempted urban studies of small and medium towns as an operational need of the organization to project, as far as possible, a complete picture of the people in areas are not always sharply defined. It was therefore, realized that the findings of the socio-economic surveys of villages undertaken during the 1961 Census had somewhat limited relevance unless these were supplemented by urban studies to have an idea of not only the close linkages and net-work of relations between the rural and urban areas but also to understand socio-economic process generated by urbanization on the rural neighborhood. These somewhat detailed studies of small and medium towns, distributed all over the country, were in addition to directories of towns brought out in 1971 Census which gave some minimum basic information about each town.  In all 26 towns report in 1971 Census and 50 towns report in 1981 Census were published.

Handicrafts Studies: -  

Further, a number of rural based crafts reports (which were discontinued during the 1971 Census) were taken up as inter-censal studies during 1981 Census. In all, 45 handicrafts studies were taken up for study, out of which 31 handicraft reports were published in 1981 Census.

Ethnographic Studies:

The detailed study on a few selected Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are undertaken by this division.  Guidance and monitoring of similar studies in States and Union Territories is also provided for finalizing the reports for publication.

Town Directory:-

It is also necessary to mentioned that during inter - censal period of 1971, 1981 and 1991, state level Town Directory and All India Town Directory covering all the towns of respective States and All India were published based on 1971,1981 and 1991 Censuses data.   No such Town Directory has been published in 2001 Census.

(B) Details of regular activities:-

A number of activities are undertaken in the Social Studies Division relating to census and non-census projects.  Following is the brief account of present activities:

(a)Census related activities:-

(i) Finalization of urban frame and urban agglomerations:-

Urban Frame:- Finalization of lists of statutory and census towns sent by the Directorates of States/Union Territories after the scrutiny of their proposals.

Urban Agglomerations (UA):- Proposals regarding Urban Agglomerations forwarded by the State/UT Directorates are scrutinized and finalized in this division.

(ii) District Census Handbook (Parts A & B):-

During each Census District Census Handbook is brought out as a census publication. It contains 2 parts, Part A of the District Census Handbook contains Village Directory and Town Directory which provides Village and Town wise information on infrastructural amenities in respect of each village and town within the District.
Part B of the District Census Handbook contains village/town and ward-wise Primary Census Abstract data.

(iii)Enumeration of Caste in 2011

The Government has decided that the enumeration of castes other than Scheduled castes and Schedules Tribes to be done from June to September 2011. This work has been entrusted to the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India. This Division has been assigned the work to prepare the modalities to take up this work.

(iv)Compilation of News Papers Clippings/Articles:-

The News items, Write-ups/Articles related to various news coming under the purview of ORGI as well as those concerning Census activities, NPR, Caste Census etc. published in National dallies/Magazines are also compiled in this Division.

(b) Non Census activities:-

(i) Examination of proposals for revision of SCs and STs list:-

This Division provides technical comments/advice in the examination of proposals of inclusion in/exclusion of communities from the  list of SCs/STs to the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and Ministry of Tribal Affairs for revision of the list. This is one of the regular works of this Division.

(ii)Finalization of individual Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes wise population: -

Scrutiny & finalization of district level individual SC & ST wise population figures as one of the major item of work under taken in this Division.

(iv)Implementation of Plan Scheme:-

Distribution of Infrastructural Facilities in different Regions and Levels and Trends of Urbanization - The basic objective of this scheme is to study in time series the pattern of spatial distribution of amenities like educational institutions, medical facilities, drinking water supply, approach roads, posts and telegraphs, electricity supply etc. in areas of different States and Union Territories
It is also envisaged to study various aspects of urbanization and differentials in the process of urbanization and sub-urbanization at different levels.

(iv)Rural Components: -

Distribution of infrastructural facilities in rural areas:  Time series data on infrastructural facilities in rural areas, based on 1971, 1981 and 1991 Census data, was generated and analyzed  during the sixth , seventh and eighth five year plans periods.