The Census of India – Whats the reality???

So India has commenced the humungous task of its 15th census which will cover more than 1.2 billion people as per estimates. The inputs from this census is expected to help in the Unique Id scheme which is led by Mr. Nandan Nelkani.I think its a great task and something that will definitely be the foundation to a great scheme ahead for generations to come…
But, with all due respects to everyone who is involved in this mammoth task of counting the innumerable people of India, I have a problem….
Let me give a background
My mom is a primary school teacher in the local school of Brc who has put in her papers inspite of two years of service left and her last month of teaching is May 2010. She is too tired to go on with the teaching stuff and has decided that she has done enough and can just take some rest and move around with dad…The second thing is that mom cant read and write Gujarati…and she speaks broken Gujarati inspite of being in Gujarat for more than 33 years..mainly because she never had the necessity to learn the language since most of the local people she interacted through out her stay where able to understand her hindi laced gujarati….
Now, all school teachers have been called for compulsory service for the census and have been threatened 3 years of imprisonment for not reporting to duty….
When my mom got a letter to report in for the census duty…she wondered whether she should really go since she had already put in her papers and secondly because language is a GREAT barrier for her….anyways she went for training for two days…on april 2nd and 3rd (being good friday and the next saturday) and she says its quite a fiasco..the training sessions lasted from 11 to 5.30 and they werent even offered water in that time period (forget tea or lunch!)….while for people like her language is going to be a major barrier and she wrote a letter to her supervisor for exemption on a genuine case…there are ladies in her training session who have 3 month babies who are being brought in by the husbands for feeding…..can you imagine the plight of that me I can….I would been so so guilty..and how can such a mother go house by house in the fierce heat of May in Gujarat with her baby in tow..where will she feed the will she feed the baby..i am sure there will be at least 100s of such cases all over India….
What about old ladies who are nearly 60 and just going to retire..does it make sense for those old ladies to go house by house in the intense heat asking questions to people with 3 sets of questionnaires to fill and each house needing more than 1 hour of time….what if the respondent is not there..are these teachers expected to go back and check…and then go through the entire process again…
When my mom asked about her language barrier, she is told that she will get the questionnaire in English which is great..but then will she be able to understand the language of a hard core gujju who speaks nothing but gujju…she is asked to get a substitute for herself incase she wants it out ….. and trust me, my mom is the most duty conscious person I have ever met in my life…..if it was possible..she would have gone out of her way to the work…but with a language barrier, things are going to be impossible for her….so her supervisor has suggested that she gets a substitute for herself and they may think about it…:(
I wonder why the govt decided on this…does it make sense to make these teachers go through this…that too at such a time when they will have 100s of exam papers to correct, prepare the results, when the sun is going to be at its worst and when most of them out of sheer desperation may as well fake numbers…..

I have a suggestion, Mr. Chidambaram…
Can you quickly send across a notice all over India that you are seeking class 10 pass people to work on a short term basis for census and will be give the salary for Rs. 5K for the task…I am sure you will get millions of responses of people who really need the job and who will do a good job…you dont need to make it centralised…just ask each village or town municipal corporation to do it individually under its juridistion….I am sure it can be done quickly, more efficiently and much more effectively than asking teachers who have enough work on their head teaching the future generation the right path!
Or another suggestion, given by another teacher, who said that you have millions of class 10 and class 12 students who are competent enough…ask them to take the task up voluntarily and tell them that it will get reflected on their results if they do a good job…i am sure there will be millions of kids who are wasting their time in their vacation who have the capability cover the entire span of India in a month….
Or perhaps…you should just try going to 10 houses by yourself (apart from the president and vice president!) in the biting hot summer and then correcting about 25 answer sheets of students, whose future depends on you, in one hour…that will definitely give you a better idea, Mr. Home Minister….

After yesterday…My mom has been given exemption on the basis of not being able to write the language..and that too after going to about 3 different places to get her name cancelled….!!!!


About R's Mom

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9 Responses to The Census of India – Whats the reality???

  1. Anonymous says:

    Why are teachers being made scapegoats??? In a democratic country, how can a letter of compulsion be given out of the blue??? With such a training & no remuneration, how can you expect accuracy of data??? Isn't this a mockery of our system?? Hire youngsters & pay them 5K. THat's the key to accuracy & efficiency!!

  2. R's Mom says:

    @Anon: Firstly I am confused whether you are mocking me or agreeing to me…well I think youngsters will do a better job…but guess to each his own..and the census has already started with teachers being given compulsory duty

  3. George says:

    We are making mockery of the system. Why lady teachers are compelled for such duties in totally unsuitable conditions. The administration should involve local unemployed youth and pay them a reasonable remuneration. Also the services rendered can be considered as grace point for local recruitment.

  4. R's Mom says:

    @George: Yaa we are….I totally agree to you

  5. Anonymous says:

    in census duty teachers are asked to count toilets too it reflects mentality of bureucrats and govt

  6. R's Mom says:

    @Anon: Thats so bad na!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am lecturer in college and working as supervisor in census of india 2011 in madhya pradesh. I have a view that govt have tried to collect a good data from this census but i had a comment that very few enumerator are working properly. Its only because of 50 questions they have to ask every family. GOvt would have cut sort unnecessary questions to make the system easy. I am new in govt system. It seems that lots of fake data are been collected. Enumerators are paying money to contract person working as babu in govt offices and leting the work done. Such type of datas are having serious mistakes like they dont have surname, their education status, how long they are staying. My seniour coluegues working as supervisor dont even bother to check them and just put sign. A lady enumerator working under me had never contacted me. I tried to contact her but her husband always recieves call and says he have lots of political hold so dont disturb his family he will let the work done by some contract worker. I tried to bring this type of serious issue in front of zonal officer he told me things are like that so you should also start accomodating in such environment. So god save govt system…lol. Everybody starting from enumerator to district census commisionar are just tring to finsh their part of job wether it is correct or fake who bothers.

  8. R's Mom says:

    @Anon: Unfortunately…I wont blame the teachers so much..they have so much to do and so little time and the conditions they are working in are so bad…but you are also right when you say that whats the use of collecting fake data….whats the use of the 50 point questionnaire when most of the questions seems out of context 😦

  9. Priya says:

    Absolutely agree! God knows what makes them think that teachers can do census, election duty and what not, when their plate is already full with so many other things. And imprisonment… just atrocious! There are so many out there who can be employed on contract basis.

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