The Government of India recently carried out the nation’s 15th census, the largest administrative exercise in the world’s second most populous nation. To accomplish this massive feat, an army of 2.7 million census workers fanned out across 35 States and Union Territories, 640 districts and over 600,000 villages in February 2011, going door to door with census forms in any of 16 national languages.1
For Indian planners, policy-makers and stakeholders at all levels, the importance of the 2011 census results cannot be overstated. The Indian census is the most credible source of information on a wide range of national socio- economic dimensions: demography, economic activity, literacy and education, housing and household amenities, urbanization, fertility and mortality, ethnicity, language, religion, migration, and disability, among others. The data is widely used as the basis for planning and policy-making at the local, state, national and international levels, by governments, development agencies, scholars, and business people alike.2
As the Government of India begins to release its tabulated 2011 census data in progressive stages, it has opted to use CensusInfo3 database technology to help disseminate the data to the widest possible audience. To this end, on 15 July 2011, the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India officially launched the CensusInfo 2011 Dashboard application.
Built on CensusInfo technology, the CensusInfo 2011 Dashboard provides a single-view visual report on provisional state-level population data collected in the country’s latest census round. Users can view selected indicators in animated and interactive tables, graphs and maps. Users can also view and save tables and graphs comparing different states and visualize trend data comparing 2001 against 2011.
The Government of India had previously adopted CensusInfo technology to disseminate data from its 2001 census using the CensusInfo India 2001 application. Building on this past successes, and due to the fact that the software platform was free as well as endorsed by the United Nations system, the Ministry of Home Affairs opted again to select CensusInfo as the platform to disseminate the country’s 2011 census data.
UNICEF is supporting the Government of India in the CensusInfo 2011 Dashboard initiative, with the objective of making the latest census data more accessible to all stakeholders in a user-friendly manner, thereby promoting greater use of data for development.
With CensusInfo helping to disseminate the results of the 2011 Indian census, the Government of India has successfully laid the foundation for the timely use of the nation’s richest data repository in support of national development.
1Press release by the Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India, New Delhi, 9 February 2011, accessed on 25 July 2011 at http://www.censusindia.gov.in/Ad_Campaign/press/President_coverage.pdf.
3Built on the UN-endorsed DevInfo database technology,CensusInfois an innovative and flexible database technology designed for the dissemination of population and housing census results. The software has been developed by the United Nations Statistics Division, in partnership with UNICEF and UNFPA, to help countries disseminate their census results at any relevant geographical level, on CD-ROM and on the web.