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Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi : 11.01.2013

It is indeed a privilege for me to be here to present the ‘Census Medals’ and ‘Certificates of honour’ to census functionaries for their extraordinary and meritorious services. It was due of the arduous efforts of all those associated with the task of conducting Census 2011 that yet another glorious chapter has been added to the annals of history of this institution.

India has a long and rich tradition of conducting Census taking. The earliest references of census taking in the country are found in Kautilya’s ‘Arthashastra’ (321-296 BC) and later in the writings of Abdul Fazl’s in ‘Ain-e-Akbari’ during the days of Emperor Akbar. However, the first systematic and modern population Census, in its present scientific form was conducted non- synchronously between 1865 and 1872 in the country. The first synchronous census in India was conducted in the Year 1881.

The Census 2011 was the fifteenth Census in this series as reckoned from 1872 and the seventh since independence. The successful conduct of Census without any break since 1872 makes the Indian census unique and unparalleled in the world.

Census taking in India is a very challenging task, in view of its multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-cultural society. The complexity of the exercise can be visualized from the fact that Census Schedules were canvassed in 16 languages and training given in 18 languages. About 5.4 million Instruction manuals and 340 million Census Schedules were printed. 2.7 million enumerators and supervisors were engaged in the task of Census taking across 35 States, 640 districts, 5924 sub-districts, 7936 towns and 6.41 lakh villages! The unique feature of Census 2011 is that Schedules for preparation of National Population Register (NPR) were also canvassed along with Houselisting Schedules.

I congratulate all my countrymen for having cooperated in Census taking. Without their active and whole hearted co-operation it would have not been possible to complete this gigantic exercise in a short duration of 21 days. I also congratulate the entire Census team for having completed the field work successfully within the stipulated time period and declared the provisional results in a record time of three weeks after completion of the field work.

India is emerging as a strong, self-reliant and modern nation. The basic benchmark statistics on the state of human resources, demography, culture and economic structure thrown by Census 2011 would not only help planners, policy makers and other stakeholders in evaluating the success of on-going schemes but would also assist in formulating future developmental plans. Census data are also widely used by national and international agencies, scholars, business persons, institutions and particularly the researchers.

Informed decision making has to be based on empirical data and census is the only source of data that provides information on various individual characteristics right up to village level for rural areas and ward level for urban areas. I hope with the latest technology adopted by Census Organization for data dissemination, Census results would be accessible quickly to all the stakeholders in the remotest corner of the country.

I am given to understand that it is a tradition to recognize the outstanding work done by Census functionaries after every decennial census. Census functionaries toil in the most difficult terrain and adverse conditions to make this mammoth exercise a grand success.

It gives me great pleasure to award Census Medals and Certificates of honour to Census functionaries in recognition of their outstanding zeal, high quality of work and devotion to duty. I congratulate all the Census medal winners and wish them well for the future endeavours.

Jai Hind !