Volume 7 Issue 7 - April 01, 2010

"My office is always open, we look forward to inputs from the disability sector", Dr. C. Chandramouli

Dr. C. Chandramouli at the Round Table on Disability and Census 2011
Dr. C. Chandramouli at the Round Table on Disability and Census 2011

The Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, Dr. C. Chandramouli inaugurated the two day Round Table Consultation on Disability and Census 2011, that took place in Delhi on March 15 and 16. In an exclusive interview with Rohinee Singh of D.N.I.S., Dr. Chandramouli shares his views on how N.G.O.s working in the disability sector should ensure that this Census they get their numbers right and that the Census Commission is willing to extend its best support to the sector.

D.N.I.S.: Census 2011 is not just about head counts. This time, a National Population Register (N.P.R.) is going to be prepared and a Unique Identity (U.I.D.) Number is expected to be allotted to every individual. Please tell us more about the process.

Dr. C. Chandramouli: It is going to be the first time in the world when a N.P.R. is being created and every individual will be allotted a U.I.D. The Census of 2011 will be carried out in two phases. Phase I is called House listing or Housing Census. This will be conducted from April to July this year, covering all the states and union territories of India.

Questions like name, date of birth, sex, present address, permanent address, nationality, names of father, mother and spouse will be asked at every household. This data will then be gathered and stored. The N.P.R. will be a registered record of all the people residing in this country.

The second phase which is called Population Enumeration will take place from February 9 to 28, 2011. Here the questions listed in the Census form will be asked. After the data is collected and stored, biometrics such as fingerprints and photographs of each individual will be taken.

This entire data will then be sent to the Unique Identification Authority of India (U.I.D.A.I.) which will then issue the Unique Identity Cards.

D.N.I.S.: What according to you should be the priority areas for the disability sector during Census 2011?

Dr. C. Chandramouli: For the disability sector, the focus should be to frame a correct question on disability so that all aspects of disability get covered. Besides, the sector also needs to ensure that the message, as to why it is so important to get oneself counted should reach the grass root level.

D.N.I.S.: Several N.G.O.s in the disability sector have shown interest in being a part of the enumerators training programme. Will it be possible?

Dr. C. Chandramouli: Certainly. If the N.G.O.s want to get involved in sensitizing the enumerators, we welcome them.

When I was serving as the Director of Census Operations in the state of Tamil Nadu in 2001, the N.G.O.s from the state to the panchayat level had got together and were actively involved in sensitizing the enumerators and the local people on the question of disability. They had used all kinds of media tools to convey the message across the state. I suggest a similar model should be followed.

D.N.I.S.: Can we request you to focus on disability when the Census Commission carries out its awareness campaigns?

Dr. C. Chandramouli: I have that in mind. We plan to put disability in the vulnerable category which will also include senior citizens, women and children. Disability will be given space in print and television advertisements and also in radio jingles.

D.N.I.S.: Any word of caution for the disability sector as we move forward?

Dr. C. Chandramouli: First of all, I wish you luck. This is a massive exercise. The disability sector needs to get proactive before we start the counting process. Besides recommending the question on disability and guidelines for the enumerators’ manual, the sector needs to ensure that the information is carried out correctly so that people come out and get themselves counted.

We will soon be starting a 24 hours helpline where people will be able to call up and inform if they have been missed out by the enumerator. Please make the disability sector aware about it. It will ensure that nobody is missed out.

Also my office is always open. We are looking forward to inputs that the disability sector will provide us.

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