History of Census operations in Pre-Independent India.

History of Census operations in Pre-Independent India.

The History of Census began in 1800 when England had begun its Census but the population of dependencies was not known at that time. In its continuation , based on this methodology census was conducted in town of Allahabad in 1824 and in the city of Banaras in the year 1827-28. The first complete census of an Indian city was conducted in 1830 in Dacca. In this Census the statistics of Population with sex and broad age group and also houses with their amenities were collected. In 1849 Government of India ordered Local Government to conduct quinquennial returns of population. This continued till the imperial census was ordered.

The Census of 1972 was considered to be prominent one and it contained 17 questions, though it did not cover al territories possessed or controlled by the British.

The Census of 1881 was a great step towards a modern synchronous census. In this Census, emphasis was laid not only on complete coverage but also on classification of demographic, economic and social  characteristics. It took in entire continent of British India and did not include French and Portuguese colonial possessions. Even Portuguese also conducted census for their colonies.

The Census of 1891 was on the basis of previous approach and efforts were made for hundred percent coverage and Upper part of present Burma, Kashmir and Sikkim were also included. The departure from previous census was that in place of Mother Tongue, information on Parental Tongue was obtained.

Third continuous census was started on March, 1901. For certain remote areas, where detailed survey was not possible, population was estimated on the basis of houses. Major changes were : provision for house number, castes of only Hindu and Jains were recorded and in case of other religion name of tribe or race were recorded. A new question about the foreign language ( English) was introduced.

The Census of 1911 commenced in all fourteen British provinces and Native states. Not only the knowledge about English but literacy in English was recorded.

The Census of 1931 coincided with a civil disobedience movement. Additionally, it included two new questions – Earner/Dependent and Mother Tongue.

The last census before independence was held under adverse conditions of war. Major changes were adopted in this census. Random samples were used and every 50th slip was marked to list the validity of a sample in census. Formation of questions was modified to the great extent.

Various changes in Indian Census operation have taken place from one census to other depending upon the need of the time, country and also demand of the data users and development of technology.
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