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Census in India

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: TH

 Context: The next Census form in India will only include six religion options: Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Sikh, and Jain, despite demands from several communities to be counted as separate religions.


Changes introduced in the upcoming Census:

  • On religion: The Census officials dropped the detailed codes for religion (e.g., Sarnaism, the Lingayat religion, etc.) that were designed based on data collected during the 2011 Census.
    • Respondents can write the name of any other religion, but no separate code will be provided.
  • New questions introduced: The Census will introduce new questions, such as whether individuals consume packaged or bottled water and factors responsible for migration, including natural calamities. There will be additional questions about travel time, modes of transport, types and causes of disabilities, and property ownership.
  • Digital Census: The next Census will be the first digital Census, allowing respondents to fill in the questionnaire from their homes.
  • Code directory: For the first time, a code directory — containing possible responses and their matching codes for questions involving descriptive and non-numeric entries — has been prepared for the use of enumerators during the second phase of Census 2021. It will facilitate data processing and reduce bias and errors in the descriptive responses.


Census 2021, which was to be conducted in two phases, has been postponed indefinitely, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 31 questions for the first phase — House listing and Housing Schedule — were notified on January 9, 2020. As many as 28 questions have been finalised for the second phase — the Population Enumeration — but are yet to be notified.