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Brief history of census

Brief history of census
   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 characteristics.

    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.