Digital Census, One Nation One Card

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Context: The Union Home Minister announced that for the first time in the 140-year history of the census in India, data is proposed to be collected through a mobile app and people who conduct door-to-door counting would be encouraged to use their own phone. Home Minister also notified that National Population Register (NPR) is being prepared for the first time in the 2021 census. 

Prelims: Current events of national and international importance. 
Mains: Important aspects of governance, transparency, and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Concerned ministry: Ministry of Home Affairs

Digital Census: 

  • The 2021 census is the 16th Indian census. In the upcoming 2021 nationwide census exercise the process of a ‘Pen-Paper Census’ will be transformed into a ‘Digital Census’ by using the latest technology.
  • The future potential of an efficient and scientific digital Census process is high, as it could lead to the provision of public services through one platform.
  • Besides maintaining the data in paper forms, availability of data in digital form will not only help in the detailed multi-dimensional analysis but also for utilization for public welfare, using the latest software. 
  • The heavy exercise of Data entry after data collection will not be required and it will automatically be compiled. 
  • During Census 2021, the digital collection of data will be adopted through a mobile app. The app is being developed indigenously for collecting the data and in Android phones. The use of latest technological developments during the upcoming Census process is a revolutionary initiative as in this process, people will be able to upload the details of self and family on newly developed mobile app themselves.
  • The Census 2021 data will become base for the country’s future planning, development initiatives, and welfare schemes so that India’s total 130 crore population gets benefitted from it. Therefore, people’s wholehearted participation is key to the success of the exercise.
  • A total of 33 lakh enumerators would be mobilized for data collection. Enumerators are the persons who conduct door-to-door counting. The exercise will be done in 16 languages to facilitate people in filling their details properly. An amount of Rs. 12,000 crore will be spent on India’s first digital census.

National Register of Citizens:

NPR is a list of usual residents of the country which could be the basis for a pan-India version of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC). The data for NPR will also be collected along with the census exercise. NPR is distinct from the Census.
The register’s objective, according to the Censusindia website, is to create “a comprehensive identity database in the country with full identification and other details by registering each and every usual resident in the country”. The idea is to better target benefits and services and prevent identity fraud.

One Nation One Card: Union Home Minister proposed the idea of a multipurpose identity card for citizens with all utilities like passport, Aadhaar, driving license and bank accounts.

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