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Posts Tagged ‘Chennai

Three months of swinging Celsius

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The middle of February is when the chill begins to abate. The middle of May is when the monsoon is longed for. In our towns, district headquarters and cities, that climatic journey of 90 days is one of a steady rise in the reading of the temperature gauge, from the low 20s to the mid 30s.

This large panel of 90 days of daily average temperatures shows, in 57 ways, the effects of the rains that almost every district has experienced during the last two months. For each city, the curved line is the long period ‘normal’ for these 90 days, based on daily averages. Also for each city, the second line which swings above and below the ‘normal’ is the one that describes the changes in its daily average from February to May 2015.

[You can download (1.52MB) a full resolution image of the panel here.]

Where this second line crosses to rise above the normal, the intervening space is red, where it dips below is coloured blue. The patches of red or blue are what tell us about the effects of a lingering winter, or rains that have been called ‘unseasonal’ but which we think signal a shift in the monsoon patterns.

The 90-day temperature chart for Goa, with daily averages nearer the long period normal over the latter half.

The 90-day temperature chart for Goa, with daily averages nearer the long period normal over the latter half.

Amongst the readings there is to be found some general similarities and also some individual peculiarities. Overall, there are more blue patches than there are red ones, and that describes how most of the cities in this panel have escaped (till this point) the typical heat of April and May. The second noteworthy general finding is that these blue patches occur more frequently in the second half of the 90 days, and so are the result of the rainy spells experienced from March to early May.

Hisar (in Haryana) has remained under the normal temperature line for many more days than above or near it. So have Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), Pendra (Chhattisgarh), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Nagpur (Maharashtra) and Jharsuguda (Odisha).

On the other hand in peninsular and south India, the below ‘normal’ daily average temperature readings are to be found in the latter half of the time period, coinciding with the frequent wet spells. This we can see in Kakinada, Kurnool and Anantapur (Andhra Pradesh), Bangalore, Gadag and Mangalore (Karnataka), Chennai, Cuddalore and Tiruchirapalli (Tamil Nadu) and Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala). [A zip file with the charts for all 57 cities is available here (1.2MB).]

What pattern will the next 30 days worth of temperature readings follow? In four weeks we will update this bird’s eye view of city temperatures, by which time monsoon 2015 should continue to give us more blues than reds. [Temperature time series plots are courtesy the NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction.]


Sizing up city life

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Close ranks of tall residential towers signal a new township on the outskirts of Beijing, P R China.

Close ranks of tall residential towers signal a new township on the outskirts of Beijing, P R China.

Some two years ago, it was calculated, the world firmly entered the urban age, for the available evidence pointed to a startling truth: more people now live in cities than outside them. The balance between urban and rural populations differs between countries, at times considerably. Chad and Congo have about the same number of people living in cities, 2.95 million and 2.96, but these urban populations are 22% of the total population for Chad and 65% of the total population for Congo.

Overall, the balance between urban and rural populations is thought, conventionally, to directly describe whether a country is likely to be in the high income or low income groups of countries. The Department of Economic and Social Affairs – a specialist agency of the United Nations – entrusts such calculations to its Population Division whose ‘World Urbanization Prospects’ found, in its 2014 revision, that the proportion of urban populations for high income countries was 80% while that for low income countries was 30%. This seems to lend weight to the conventional wisdom that it is cities that galvanise the creation of the sort of wealth which gross domestic product (GDP) growth depends on.

Cities are seen to harbour dynamism and vitality. For those who live in such cities, this is largely true. Residents of cities like Seoul (Korea), Lima (Peru), Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad (all India), Bogotá (Colombia), Nagoya (Japan), Johannesburg (South Africa), Bangkok (Thailand) and Chicago (USA) are very likely to agree that living and working in their respective cities has brought tham prosperity, and are less likely to ponder about this group of cities being the top ten in the world with populations under 10 million in 2014 (there are 28 cities worldwide with populations of at least 10 million).

RG_CN_Beijing_201405_01_bwThere is however another aspect to the formation of cities. In 1927, the film Metropolis, conceived by Fritz Lang and delivered as an artfully stylised cinematic message, described the strains and dangers of the power that cities had already come to have over their residents. For Metropolis was a futuristic city where a cultured utopia existed above a bleak underworld populated by mistreated workers. Just over 50 years later, another film, Blade Runner (1982), blended science fiction with a disturbing portrait of a dystopian and dangerous cityscape that was both gigantic and technology-centric, through which the human element struggled to find meaning.

If Metropolis represented the post-industrial revolution European cityscape, then Blade Runner depicted the flagship of what has been called the Asian century, for its mesmerising and frightening urban backdrop was Tokyo then, and could well be China now. The Japanese capital remains in 2014 the world’s largest city with an agglomeration of 38 million inhabitants, followed by New Delhi with 25 million, Shanghai with 23 million, and Mexico City, Mumbai and São Paulo, each with around 21 million inhabitants. By 2030, so the projections say, the world will have 41 mega-cities of more than 10 million inhabitants.

For all their celebrated roles as centres of wealth, innovation and culture, these mega-cities and their smaller counterparts exert dreadful pressures on natural resources and the environment. These are already either unmanageable or uneconomical to deal with, more so in the rapidly growing urban centres of Asia and Africa. Despite the lengthening list of urban problems – most caused by rural folk flocking to cities faster than urban governance structures can cope with existing needs – demographers foresee that today’s trend will add 2.5 billion people to the world’s urban population by 2050. India, China and Nigeria are together expected to account for 37% of the projected growth of the world’s urban population between this year and 2050. It is there that the idea of the city, which so fascinated Fritz Lang, will be sorely tested.

India marches against Monsanto, hauls it back into court

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The anti-GM and anti-Monsanto protest in Bangalore outside the Town Hall on 2013 October 15

The anti-GM and anti-Monsanto protest in Bangalore outside the Town Hall on 2013 October 15

This is an important week for the public movement in India against genetically-modified seed and food, and against the corporate control of agriculture. Just ahead of World Food Day 2013, the Coalition for GM Free India has held public protests, marches and events in major cities – Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai.

“Today, India is also under threat from the hazardous products that Monsanto wants to profiteer from – these are products that affect the very food that we eat to survive and stay healthy and our environment. These are products that have the potential to jeopardise future generations too,” said the Coalition at the protest meetings and marches.

These actions have come when, in a very significant ruling by the High Court of Karnataka, a petition to dispose criminal prosecution of the Monsanto subsidiary in India, representatives of an agricultural university and a partner company, has been dismissed.

RG-Monsanto_BLR_protest_10Mahyco-Monsanto, the Indian seed company, the University of Agricultural Sciences Dharwad (which is in the state of Karnataka), and Monsanto collaborating partners Sathguru Consultants were accused by the National Biodiversity Authority and the Karnataka State Biodiversity Board of committing serious criminal acts of biopiracy in promoting B.t. Brinjal, India’s first food GMO.

The Bangalore-based Environment Support Group (ESG) had said to the court that the entire process by which the product had been developed violated the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, and the Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992, and “constituted an outrageous act of biopiracy of India’s endemic brinjal (eggplant) varieties”.

To substantiate this charge, the ESG produced evidence that all the endemic varieties of brinjal that had been accessed by the University of Agricultural Sciences Dharwad and Monsanto-Mahyco, with technical support from Sathguru Consultants and USAID, and the act of inserting the B.t. gene (a proprietary product of Monsanto), were undertaken without any consent of local Biodiversity Management Committees, the State Biodiversity Board and the National Biodiversity Authority.

As the Coalition for GM Free India has pointed out repeatedly, Monsanto’s misdeeds in India and its growing threat to food security and the right to food cultivation and consumption choices are considerable:
* Mahyco-Monsanto used its Bt cotton seed monopoly to set exorbitant prices. The Andhra Pradesh government had to use the MRTP (Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices) Commission, which observed that Monsanto-Mahyco was using unfair trade practices in India, while asking the company to reduce the royalty/sub-licensing fee being charged in India.
* Monsanto-Mahyco did not hesitate to sue governments in India on issues related to compensation for loss-incurring farmers or price-regulation.
* After the advent of Bt cotton, Monsanto entered into licensing agreements with most seed companies in India so that out of 22.5 million acres of GM cotton, 21 million acres is planted with its seed, Bollgard. Today it controls nearly 93% of the market share of cotton seeds in India, with little choice left to farmers.
* Monsanto is on the Board of the Indo-US Knowledge Initiative in Agriculture, under which bio-safety regime for GM crops was sought to be weakened.
* Monsanto entered into agreements with several states (Rajasthan, Orissa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir) under which the states spend hundreds of crore rupees of public funds every year to purchase hybrid maize seeds from them. Such agreements were found to have no scientific or funding rationale to support them. Appraisals have shown these to be risky for farmers. However, the corporation has found huge, ready markets supported by taxpayers’ funds!
* Monsanto is pushing the sales of its herbicide glyphosate which is known to cause reproductive problems. Approval for its herbicide-tolerant GM crops would skyrocket the use of this hazardous chemical in our fields.

The action in court and on the streets of major cities must be recognised by the central and state governments in order to pursue the criminal prosecution against biopiracy in B.t. brinjal. This is critical, said the ESG, because it is for the “first time that India has sought to implement the provisions of the Biodiversity Act tackling biopiracy, and thus the effort constitutes a major precedent to secure India’s bio-resources, associated traditional knowledge and biodiversity for the benefit of present and future generations”.

India in 2015 – 63 million-plus cities

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RG_new_city_marks2The 27 cities shown on this map are no different from many others like them in India today, and the selection of these 27 is based solely on a single numerical milestone which I am fairly sure few of each city’s citizens (or administrations for that matter) will have marked.

On some day during the months since March 2011, the population of each of these 27 cities has crossed 150,000 – this is the criterion. March 2011 is the month to which the Census 2011 has fixed its population count, for the country, for a state, a district, a town.

And so these 27 cities share one criterion – which they be quite unaware of – which is that when their inhabitants were enumerated for the 2011 census, their populations were under 150,000 whereas in the four years since that mark has been crossed.

[You will find more on the theme of population, the Census of India 2011 and urban and rural population growth here: ‘So very many of us’, ‘To localise and humanise India’s urban project’, ‘The slowing motion of India’s quick mobility’, ‘The urbanised middle class symphony’. Thematic and state-wise links to direct data files can be found at: ‘India’s 2011 census, a population turning point’ and ‘India’s 2011 census, the states and their prime numbers’.]

When the provisional results of the Census of India 2011 were released, through the year 2011, the number of cities with populations of a million and over was 53.

The number of cities with over a million inhabitants, from 53 in 2013 to 63 in 2015. Cities with names in red type will reach a million in 2015.

The number of cities with over a million inhabitants, from 53 in 2013 to 63 in 2015. Cities with names in red type will reach a million in 2015.

That was the tally almost two years ago. Between the 2011 census and the 2001 census the growth rate of the urban population was 31.8% which, turned into a simple annual rate for those ten years, is just under 3.2% per year.

At this rate, in mid-2013, six more cities will have joined the list of those with a population of over a million.

These six cities are: Mysore (in Karnataka, estimated population of 1,046,469), Bareilly (in Uttar Pradesh, 1,042,257), Guwahati (in Assam, 1,030,149), Tiruppur (in Tamil Nadu, 1,024,228), Sholapur (in Maharashtra, 1,011,609) and Hubli-Dharwad (in Karnataka, 1,003,886).

Within the next few months, India will have 59 cities with populations of over a million.

By mid-2015 (the final year of the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs), there will be another four cities with populations of over a million: Salem (in Tamil Nadu, estimated population of 1,036,066), Aligarh (in Uttar Pradesh, 1,025,255), Gurgaon (in Haryana, 1,016,698) and Moradabad (in Uttar Pradesh, 1,002,994).

That year, Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Thrissur (Kerala) and Vadodara (Gujarat) will have populations of over two million; the populations of Kanpur and Lucknow (both Uttar Pradesh) will cross three million and that of Surat (Gujarat) will cross five million. India will have 63 (ten more than in 2011) cities with populations of at least a million.

These are projections that have not taken into account the state-wise variations of rural and urban growth rates. Also not accounted for is migration, as the migration data from Census 2011 has yet to be released.

Does KFC want 13-month-old infants in India to eat its chicken?

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A schoolgirl walks under the KFC advertisement in Bengaluru (Bangalore). This hoarding is visible to all traffic on one of the city’s major roads, Richmond Road.

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) in India is advertising a chicken meal that costs 35 rupees (USD 0.67, EUR 0.51). Hoardings such as this one are visible now in all the major metropolitan cities (Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Delhi) and KFC has taken outdoor advertising space along major roads in these cities.

This hoarding advertises “Real chicken” for 35 Indian rupees, “KFC wow! price menu”. In small letters on the lower bottom right of the hoarding the advertisement also says: “Products contain added monosodium glutamate. Not recommended for infants below 12 months”.

There are two culprits here at work to further the interests of the junk food/fast food industry. One is the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India which is nowhere near as vigilant as it ought to be, especially given its ‘Advisory on Misbranding/ Misleading claims’ which invokes the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, 2006, Rules & Regulations, 2011. This has said: “(2) The various false claims made by the Food Business Operator about food articles and consequent violation, if any, are punishable under the provisions fo FSS Act, 2006; (3) Violations related to food items, seriously jeopardize public health as well lead to unfair gains to Food Business; (4) Misleading advertisement related to food items are imputed with malafide intent on the part of person making the claim and is normally made to misguide a consumer to purchase food item without disclosing the complete details on the advertisement. Companies (Corporate bodies including firm or other association, individual) are also covered u/s 66, FSS Act, 2006.”

The objectionable disclaimer is in small letters on the lower right edge of the hoarding, unnoticeable to passing traffic.

The other culprit is KFC and its parent company, Yum! Brands, Inc. Just how important is India to Yum! Brands? Consider the statement by the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, David C Novak (available right now on the company website) in which he has mentioned India and its market:

” …we have made incredible progress in India, opening 101 new restaurants in 2011. Ten years ago, we were essentially just beginning with KFC in India, and now it’s our second leading country for new unit development. In fact, we’re so excited about our prospects in India, and its impact on the future growth of Yum!, that we’re going to break it out as a separate division for 2012 reporting directly to me. It’s encouraging to see that our new unit progress with KFC in India is very similar to what we saw in China during its first 10 years. Our India team has identified the key elements driving success in China and are adapting these strategies in India to leverage our iconic brands and build concepts with broad appeal.”

No thank you. We want 0 such restaurants per 1,000,000 people

India’s business and financial English-language dailies, since they function as mouthpieces of industry and propaganda sheets for industry and trade associations, and since they function as uncritical endorsers of the current ruling regime’s reckless gallop into ruin, have had only laudatory noises to make about the invasion under way by KFC and similar global junk food peddlers.

The Economic Times published a gushing interview with Muktesh Pant, CEO of Yum! Restaurants International, which is described as running “the international operations of US quick restaurant chains Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants”. The newspaper asked: “How is the Indian restaurant market evolving, compared to say China?” and Pant answered: “If you compare the stats of the two countries, the consumer class of 300 million in China has an access to 3,000+ KFCs, while the consumer class of 100 million in India has access to only about 140 KFC outlets. Hence, there is a huge potential for us to leverage our expertise in the untapped market. Our aim is to have 1,000 outlets in India by 2015 and China has helped us provide a blueprint for this rapid growth.”

The influence of KFC on the diet of India’s urban schoolchildren? See the schoolbuses driving past the hoarding.

The same gushing interview contained answers from Niren Chaudhary, president of Yum! Restaurants India, who was described as “reporting directly to Yum! Brands, Inc, Chairman & CEO David Novak after the world’s largest restaurant company last week made India only the third country after the US and China with a standalone reporting division”. How fabulously exciting for all the 13-month-old infants wetting their diapers in anticipation of their next KFC portion.

The question was: “Will it translate into faster expansion and more hires?” And Chaudhary’s answer: “Our goal is to double our store base to at least 1,000 stores, employing 50,000 people, in three years. The new structure is a change in reporting relationship and reflects the importance of India as a future growth opportunity.”

Now we know why the KFC advertisements say what they do (and hide much). This CEO Pant is reported to have studied at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, and if so that particular IIT – and the IITs and IIMs of Bharat – have much to answer for.

Why the global consultants want to see more Asian megacities

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The urbanisation-mongers say that more than 20 of the world’s top 50 cities ranked by GDP will be located in Asia by the year 2025, up from 8 in 2007.

The mantra of urbanisation has been at the forefront of the exploitative and socially destructive economics of the last 20 years.

In recent years it has been chanted loudest by the global consulting firms – the same ones which audit the books of the banks that collapse, taking small savers’ money with them, and the books of the Wall Street firms, which destroy jobs and abet the plunder of resources the world over.

Why are they saying this? Let’s look at what one of these firms, McKinsey, has been saying about urbanisation (this firm has concentrated heavily on pushing urban finance, and is lobbying hard with Asian governments to do as it recommends).

“Asia’s growing economic power manifests itself in many ways,” McKinsey has said. “Back in 2007, for example, only 8 of the top 50 urban areas (by GDP) were located there. Half of global GDP came from the developed world’s top 380 cities, with 20-plus percent from just 190 North American ones.”

The urbanisation-mongers say that in this new landscape of urban economic power, Shanghai and Beijing will outrank Los Angeles and London, while Mumbai and Doha will surpass Munich and Denver.

Over the next 15 years, McKinsey has said, the urban centre of gravity will move south and east. In the geography of globalisation, South means South Asia and India, East means China.

By 2025, this forecast posits that Asia will have upward of 20 of the top 50 cities, and Shanghai and Beijing will have GDPs higher than those of Los Angeles and London, according to this city-obsessed firm.

Why are they saying this? Pushing urbanisation means getting into one administrative unit more workers and more consumers at once. It means markets for goods and services (think finance, insurance, health, education) that are easier to reach and easier to shoehorn into uniform regulations.

The urbanisation-mongers say that the implications for companies’ growth priorities, countries’ economic relationships, and the world’s sustainability strategy are profound. They're right, and we must beware.

It also means creating nuclei for rural migrants, who will be gradually but inexorably pushed out of their villages as the costs and burdens of smallholder farming become more unbearable, and as the levels of rural food and fuel inflation become more unendurable.

The success of the urbanisation that McKinsey and its peers and the collaborators in government want depends on the steady depopulating of the rural districts of our countries, the abandoning of land that will then be taken over by corporate and industrial agriculture which will then supply crop monocultures to the food processing industries and retail systems designed to feed the miserable millions in crammed, unlivable cities.

Written by makanaka

October 5, 2011 at 22:24

India’s 2011 Census, a population turning point

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With most of the final data tables now available, I am now (2015 November) consolidating and reorganising this extensive article about the Census of India 2011. This will take the following forms: (1) links to and explanations about the main data categories, (2) links to the sections containing detailed tables, forms, past censuses, geographical codes and administrative maps, (3) listings by state and union territory of the tables available in the main data categories, (4) analytical matter about demographics and trends.

1.1 Main categories – Primary Census Abstract data

Primary Census Abstract Data Highlights, 2011 (India/States/UTs) Primary Census Abstract Data Tables (India/States/UTs – District Level) Primary Census Abstract Data Tables (India/States/UTs – Town/Village/Ward Level)
Primary Census Abstract Data C.D. Block Wise Primary Census Abstract Data for Houseless (India/States/UTs – District Level)(xls) Primary Census Abstract Data for Scheduled Castes (SC) (India/States/UTs – District Level)(xls)
Primary Census Abstract Data for Scheduled Tribes (ST) (India/States/UTs – District Level)(xls) Primary Census Abstract Data for Slum (India/States/UTs – Town Level)(xls) Individual Scheduled Caste Primary Census Abstract Data (with Appendix)
Individual Scheduled Tribe Primary Census Abstract Data (with Appendix) Introduction to Individual SC/ST Primary Census Abstract Data (pdf) Primary Census Abstract Data for Others (India/States/UTs)(xls)
Introduction to Primary Census Abstract Data for Others (pdf) Decadal Variation In Population Since 1901 Introduction to Decadal Variation In Population Since 1901 (pdf)
Primary Census Abstract for Female-Headed Households (India/States/UTs – District Level)(Total, SC/ST)

Please now refer to these links. Sections that will shortly be added here are: Villages By Population, Age Data, Data on Disability, Data on Education, Data on Religion, Data on Scheduled Castes, Data on Scheduled Tribes, Household Series, Data on workers, Data On Marital Status, Fertility Data, Post Enumeration Survey, Miscellaneous Tables.


1.2 Household series data

Normal Households By Household Size (Total, SC/ST, City) Houseless Households By Household Size (Total, City) Households with number of aged persons 60 years and above by sex and household size (Total, City)
Households By marital Status, sex and age of the head of household (Total, City) Households By Number Of Literates Among The Members Of Household Age 7 Years And Above (Total, SC/ST) Households With At Least One Member Age 15 And Above And With Or Without Educational Level Matriculation And Above By Household Size (India/States/UTs – District Level)
Households with number of workers by household size (Total, SC/ST) Households By Size And Number Of Members Seeking / Available For Work (India/States/UTs) Households By number of disabled persons and household size (India/States/UTs)(xls)

The household tables and the primary census abstract tables will shortly be cross-referenced with states and union territories. This will make it easier to find and get directly the spreadsheets with district-level data.


1.3 Workers (main, marginal, education, activity, gender)

Main workers, marginal workers, non-workers and those marginal workers, non-workers seeking/available for work classified by age and gender (Total, SC/ST) By city: main workers, marginal workers, non-workers and those marginal workers, non-workers seeking/available for work classified by age and gender (xls) Main workers, marginal workers, non-workers and those marginal workers, non-workers seeking/ available for work classified by educational level and gender (India / states/UTs / district)(Total, SC/ST)
Main workers by educational level, age and gender (India / States/UTs / district) Marginal workers by main non-economic activity, age and gender (Total, SC/ST) Non-workers by main activity, age and gender (Total, SC/ST)
Non-workers by main activity, educational level and gender (India / states/UTs /district) Marginal workers and non workers seeking/available for work classified by educational level, age and gender (India / states/UTs /district) ‘Other Workers’ by distance from residence to place of work and mode of travel to place of work (India / states/UTs / district)


1.4 Education (7 and above, 15 and above, by institution, gender)

Educational level by age and sex for population age 7 and above (total, SC/ST) (India / states/UTs / district) By city: educational level by age and sex for population age 7 and above (xls) Educational level graduate and above by gender for population age 15 and above (Total, SC/ST) (India / states/UTs / district)
By city: educational level graduate and above by gender for population age 15 and above (xls) Population attending educational institutions by age, gender and type of educational institution (Total, SC/ST) (India / states/UTs / district) By city: population attending educational institutions by age, gender and type of educational institution (xls)
Population attending educational institution by completed education level, age and gender (India / states/UTs / district) Non-workers by main activity, educational level and gender (India / states/UTs / district) Marginal workers and non-workers seeking/available for work classified by educational level, age and gender (India / states/UTs / district)

The older material is appended below and continues to serve as a useful guide to the many aspects of the Census of India 2011, the world’s largest and most detailed population enumeration, which informs us about the people of Bharat from the largest metropolis to the smallest rural hamlet.



Major update, 2014 November – It has been three years since regular releases of data from Census 2011 began. As the major data sets have been placed in the public domain, the Census of India website has changed to accommodate the new demands.

Here are the new links for final population totals, and for the major tables in the census:

Primary Census Abstract Data for Houseless (India & States/UTs – District Level, Excel)
Primary Census Abstract Data for Scheduled Tribes (SC) (India & States/UTs – District Level, Excel)
Primary Census Abstract Data for Scheduled Tribes (ST) (India & States/UTs – District Level, Excel)
Primary Census Abstract Data for Slum (India & States/UTs – Town Level, Excel)
Primary Census Abstract Data Highlights – 2011 (new page for India and States/UTs)
Primary Census Abstract Data Tables (new page for India and States/UTs – District Level, Excel)
Primary Census Abstract Data Tables (new page for India and States/UTs – Town/Village/Ward Level)
Primary Census Abstract Data for Others (India & States/UTs, Excel)
Brief Introduction to Primary Census Abstract Data for Others (pdf)
Decadal Variation In Population Since 1901 (new page)
Brief Introduction to A-2 Decadal Variation In Population Since 1901 (pdf)
Individual Scheduled Caste Primary Census Abstract Data and its Appendix (new page)
Individual Scheduled Tribe Primary Census Abstract Data and its Appendix (new page)
Brief Introduction to Individual SC / ST Primary Census Abstract Data and its appendix (pdf)

20140304Major update – Extensive new data tables have been made available for public use by the Census of India. These include: (1) Primary Census Abstract tables to the village and ward level, (2) consolidated top level datasheets for Population Enumeration Data, population living in villages, age data, and data on disability.

Here they are:

[Set 1] Primary Census Abstract Data (Final Population); Primary Census Abstract Data for Houseless (India & States/UTs – District Level) ; Primary Census Abstract Data for Scheduled Castes (SC) (India & States/UTs – District Level) ; Primary Census Abstract Data for Scheduled Tribes (ST) (India & States/UTs – District Level) ; Primary Census Abstract Data for Slum (India & States/UTs – Town Level) ; Primary Census Abstract Data Highlights – 2011 (India & States/UTs) ; Primary Census Abstract Data Tables (India & States/UTs – District Level) ; Primary Census Abstract Data Tables (India & States/UTs – Town/Village/Ward Level).

[Set 2] Villages By Population ; Village population Tables ; Percentage of population living in villages of various population size with reference to the total rural population: 2011 ; Percentage of villages and population by class of villages in 2001 and 2011 ; Statement showing the number of Villages of population 10,000 and above with their population: 2001-2011 ; Distribution of 10,000 villages of each class in All India and 10,000 population in each class of villages All India among the States and Union Territories.

[Set 3] Single Year Age Data – (India/States/UTs) ; Single Year Age Data for Scheduled Castes (SC) ; Single Year Age Data for Scheduled Tribes (ST) ; Five Year Age Group Data ; Five Year Age Data for Scheduled Castes (SC) ; Five Year Age Data for Scheduled Castes (ST).

[Set 4] Disabled Population by type of Disability, Age and Sex (India & States/UTs – District Level) ; Disabled Population by type of Disability, Age and Sex For Scheduled Castes (India & States/UTs – District Level) ; Disabled Population by type of Disability, Age and Sex For Scheduled Tribes (India & States/UTs – District Level).

20131213Major update – And so to the numbers.

On old maps and dusty histories, our villages have formed the reliable background against which to describe empire and freedom. Many of the names in the humblest level of description found in Census 2011 can be traced back over generations.

On old maps and dusty histories, our villages have formed the reliable background against which to describe empire and freedom. Many of the names in the humblest level of description found in Census 2011 can be traced back over generations.

There are 43,264 in Rajasthan, there are 25,372 in Assam and there are 40,959 in Maharashtra. That’s the village count in these states and this count (and the way villages are dispersed in the districts based on the size of their populations) is the focus of the latest data release from Census 2011.

Can there be an ‘average’ count for district? Yes there can, but finding one has little real use especially for the district concerned. Even so, to help us better understand the way a district is (and has for most of our recorded history) been organised I have used the data to find such an ‘average’. From the set of 631 districts that have villages (the others have none, being fully urban in character) I extracted the middle 505 districts (their villages count was from 138 to 1,817) and the median is 817 – that is, 817 villages in an ‘average’ district.

Where can we find such districts? Here are twelve: Garhwa in Jharkhand with 844, Rajkot in Gujarat with 833, Parbhani in Maharashtra with 830, Barpeta in Assam with 825, Mainpuri in Uttar Pradesh with 820, Ashoknagar in Madhya Pradesh with 818, Rangareddy in Andhra Pradesh with 817, Raichur in Karnataka with 815, Sitamarhi in Bihar with 808, Kota in Rajasthan with 805, Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu with 799 and Una in Himachal Pradesh with 790.

The new set of data released by Census 2011 has: (1) a note on villages by population, (2) tables by district and by taluka / tahsil / block (excel file), (3) percentage of population living in villages of various population size with reference to the total rural population in 2011, (4) percentage of villages and population by class of villages in 2001 and 2011, (5) the number of villages whose populations are 10,000 and above, 2001-2011, (6) distribution of 10,000 villages of each class, all-India, and 10,000 population in each class of villages, all-India, among states and union territories.

RG_census2011_small_map_sections_20131220130903Major update – The ‘primary census abstract’ is the most important record for a settlement, whether a rural hamlet or an urban town ward. This contains the population, gender ratio, literacy rate, proportion of children, the numbers of scheduled tribe and caste members, and also contains the four-fold break-up of the working population. Please see ‘The data vault of the 2011 Indian Census‘ for full and comprehensive data sheets.

20130501Very major update – The Census of India has released the first data batch of the primary census abstract. This release of the PCA is detailed down to district level and you will find more information, and individual data for states and union territories here.

20120229Info update – A documentary film on the Census of India 2011 has been released. The shorter version of the film is available on YouTube and is worth watching also for its scenes of contemporary village and urban India – lots of ethnic diversity and very colourful. The film was produced by the National Film Development Corporation and documents the Census process.

20111021Major update – The urban-rural population data release.

This is an extremely important data set for planners and administrators in the major ministries and of course for all those in social sector fields. The new group of data files lists all the districts, their total population with rural and urban components, the population of the 0-to-six years age group and the population of literates, in all cases by male and female.

The text that follows is taken from the ‘data highlights’ file which provides a very good overview of the scope of this data release. You will also find a set of links to the pdf and xls files released by the Census 2011.

Census 2011 lists 7,935 towns in India. The number of towns has increased by 2,774 since the last Census (2001). Many of these towns are part of urban agglomerations and the rest are independent towns. The total number of urban agglomerations/towns, which constitutes the urban frame, is 6,166 in all states and union territories.

Population of UAs/Towns:
1. The total urban population in the country as per Census 2011 is more than 377 million constituting 31.16% of the total population.
2. Class I UAs/Towns: The UAs/Towns are grouped on the basis their population in Census. The UAs/Towns which have at least 1,00,000 persons as population are categorised as Class I UA/Town. At the Census 2011, there are 468 such UAs/Towns. The corresponding number in Census 2001 was 394.
3. 264.9 million persons, constituting 70% of the total urban population, live in these Class I UAs/Towns. The proportion has increased considerable over the last Census. In the remaining classes of towns the growth has been nominal.
4. Million Plus UAs/Towns: Out of 468 UAs/Towns belonging to Class I category, 53 UAs/Towns each has a population of one million or above each. Known as Million Plus UAs/Cities, these are the major urban centres in the country. 160.7 million persons (or 42.6% of the urban population) live in these Million Plus UAs/Cities.18 new UAs/Towns have been added to this list since the last Census.
5. Mega Cities: Among the Million Plus UAs/Cities, there are three very large UAs with more than 10 million persons in the country, known as Mega Cities. These are Greater Mumbai UA (18.4 million), Delhi UA (16.3 million) and Kolkata UA (14.1 million). The largest UA in the country is Greater Mumbai UA followed by Delhi UA. Kolkata UA which held the second rank in Census 2001 has been replaced by Delhi UA. The growth in population in the Mega Cities has slowed down considerably during the last decade. Greater Mumbai UA, which had witnessed 30.47% growth in population during 1991-2001 has recorded 12.05% during 2001-2011. Similarly Delhi UA (from 52.24% to 26.69% in 2001-2011) and Kolkata UA (from 19.60% to 6.87% in 2001-2011) have also slowed down considerably.

Child Population (0-6 years):
6. Population of children in the age group is 158.8 million in Census 2011. In the urban areas there are 41.2 million children in this age group. In comparison to Census 2001, the number of children (0-6) in urban areas has increased (by 10.32%), while in the rural areas it has decreased by 7.04%.
7. Of the 41.2 million children (0-6) in the urban areas in the country, the population in Class I UAs/Cities is 27.9 million, which is about 67.8% of the total Urban child population. In Million Plus UAs/Cities the Child Population (0-6) is 16.6 million constituting about 40 % of the total urban child (0-6) population of the country.
8. Among the 53 Million Plus UAs/Cities 16.6 million are children (0-6), of which 52.7% are boys and 47.3% are girls, showing a preponderance of male children in these large cities.
9. Malappuram UA has the highest proportion of Children (0-6) (13.57%) in the Million Plus category, followed by Ghaziabad (13.09%). Kolkata UA has the lowest proportion at 7.54%.

The data files:
Data Highlights [pdf, 32 kb]
Population by gender and residence, Census 2011 [pdf, 412 kb] [xls, 319 kb]
Cities with population 100,000 and above [pdf, 152 kb] [xls, 190 kb]
Urban agglomerations/cities with population 100,000 and above [pdf, 138 kb] [xls, 179 kb]
Urban agglomerations/cities with population 1 million and above [pdf, 20 kb] [xls, 35 kb]
Constituents of urban agglomerations with population 100,000 and above, Census 2011 [pdf, 162 kb] [xls, 251 kb]
Urban agglomerations spread over more than one district [pdf, 10 kb] [xls, 24kb]
Abbreviations [pdf, 7 kb] [xls, 28 kb]

Gender Ratio:
10. Gender ratio, the number of females per thousand males, in urban areas in India is 926 in Census 2011. It has registered an increase of 26 points over the Gender ratio in 2001 Census.
11. Gender ratio in Class I UAs/Cities (population of 100,000 and above) is 921, which is 5 points lower than the total urban gender ratio in the country.
12. Among the Million Plus UAs/Cities the Gender Ratio stands at 912. The UAs, where population of females exceeds the total male population in this group are Kannur UA (Kerala) at the top with 1168. Surat UA (Gujarat) is at the bottom of the list with Gender Ratio at 754 where males outnumber females.
13. In the two of the three mega cities there is predominance of male population as they have returned low Gender Ratio (e.g., Greater Mumbai UA – 861, Delhi UA – 867). Kolkata UA has returned a better gender ratio at 928.

Child gender Ratio (0-6 years):
14. The Child gender Ratio in the country has declined from 927 to 914 in Census 2011. This decline is more pronounced in rural areas than in urban areas of the country, where the decline is by 4 points from 906 to 902 in Census 2011.
15. The Child gender Ratio in UAs/Cities with 100,000 persons and above is 899 which is marginally lower than the national average for urban areas.
16. The combined Child gender Ratio in Million Plus UAs/Cities is 898. Thiruananthapuram UA (Kerala) has returned the highest Child gender Ratio (971) in this group. The lowest slot is occupied by Agra UA (780).
17. Child gender Ratio in the three Mega Cities are 946 (Kolkata UA), 900 (Greater Mumbai UA) and the lowest in 868 (Delhi UA).

Literacy Rate:
18. The literacy rates among both males and females have shown improvement in Census 2011 compared to the last Census. The literacy rate in the country as a whole is 74.04%. In the rural and the urban areas the literacy rates are 68.9% and 84.9% respectively.
19. The female literacy rate in rural and urban areas shows wide variation. In the urban areas of the country the female literacy rate is 79.92% in the rural areas it is only 58.75%.
20. In the 468 UAs/Towns the progress in literacy has been quite encouraging. In 89 UAs/Cities the total Literacy Rate has crossed the 90% mark. The corresponding number of UAs/Cities in Census 2001 was only 23 in Census 2011. In another 288 UAs/Cities, the Literacy rate ranges between 80% to 90%, improving from 197 in Census 2001.
21. The total Literacy Rate in Greater Mumbai UA is 90.78%, the highest among the mega cities. The Literacy Rate in Delhi and Kolkata are 86.43% and 88.33% respectively. The female literacy rate is also the highest in Greater Mumbai UA (87.19) the top three megacities.

20110926Major update – In the Paper 2 series 12 more states and union territories have been added.

In the ‘Provisional Population Totals Paper 2 of 2011′ series you will find most of the new data concerns administrative divisions in the state (or UT), several ‘At a Glance’ compilations of data and charts, decadal growth rates for populations and the percentage shares (under various categories) of populations.

There are also gender ratios by residence, child population (with associated decadal growth characteristics, gender ratios and percentages), literates and literacy rates (also by residence).

The new entrants follow below. One state only remains and that is Jammu and Kashmir – perhaps by this week the paper 2 series will also be complete. I will post the details here as soon as that happens.

Arunachal Pradesh, Assam
Bihar, Chhattisgarh
Jharkhand, Lakshadweep
Maharashtra, Manipur
Meghalaya, Mizoram
Tripura, Uttarakhand

20110822Major update – The Census of India has begun releasing – as part of its Paper 2 series – the state and union territory results for rural-urban populations, literacy, child gender ratios and administrative units maps. I am listing the state/UT releases issued so far, followed by the major new data files for those states/UTs:

Andaman & Nicobar Islands
Andhra Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh
NCT of Delhi
Tamil Nadu

Dadra and Nagar Haveli
Daman and Diu
Madhya Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
West Bengal

Andaman & Nicobar Islands
Provisional Population Totals (pdf, 1.52 MB)

Andhra Pradesh
Percentage of Urban Population (Map)(pdf, 233 kB) ; Figures at a Glance (pdf, 351 kB) ; Population, Decadal growth Rate, sex ratio by residence (pdf, 5.17 MB) ; Child population, Decadal growth, child sex ratio by residence (pdf, 6.97 MB) ; Literates, Literacy rate by residence, Literacy rate by gender (pdf, 6.24 MB)

NCT of Delhi
Provisional Population Totals (pdf, 8.04 MB)

Figures at a Glance (pdf, 77 kB) ; Population, Decadal Growth Rate, Sex Ratio by Residence (pdf, 2.62 MB) ; Child Population, Decadal Growth, Child Sex Ratio by Residence (pdf, 1.15 MB) ; Literates and Literacy Rate By Residence (pdf, 1.70 MB)

Figures at a Glance (pdf, 144 kB) ; Highlights of Haryana (pdf, 185 kB) ; Percentage of Urban Population to Total (Map)(pdf, 208 kB) ; Percentage Decadal Growth Rate of Urban Population 2001-2011 (Map)(pdf, 203 kB) ; Population, Decadal Growth Rate, Sex Ratio by Residence (pdf, 876 kB) ; Child Polulation, Decadal Growth, Child Sex Ratio By Residence (pdf, 1.24 MB) ; Literates and Literacy Rate by Residence (pdf, 916 kB)

20110725Major update – The Census of India has released its Paper 2 of the 2011 Census. This provides the national and state-level data for urban and rural populations and their growth rates. The summary of the update follows:

Administrative Units: Census 2011 covered 35 States/Union Territories, 640 districts, 5,924 sub-districts, 7,935 Towns and 6,40,867 Villages. In Census 2001, the corresponding figures were 593 Districts, 5,463 sub-Districts, 5,161 Towns and 6,38,588 Villages. There is an increase of 47 Districts, 461 Sub Districts, 2774 Towns (242 Statutory and 2532 Census Towns) and 2279 Villages in Census 2011 as compared to Census 2001.

Population: As per the Provisional Population Totals of Census 2011, the total population of India was 1210.2 million. Of this, the rural population stands at 833.1 million and the urban population 377.1 million. In absolute numbers, the rural population has increased by 90.47 million and the urban population by 91.00 million in the last decade. Uttar Pradesh has the largest rural population of 155.11 million (18.62% of the country’s rural population) whereas Maharashtra has the highest urban population of 50.83 million (13.48% of country’s urban population) in the country.

Growth Rate: The growth rate of population for India in the last decade was 17.64%. The growth rate of population in rural and urban areas was 12.18% and 31.80% respectively. Bihar (23.90%) exhibited the highest decadal growth rate in rural population.

Urban population percentages for states, 2011

Proportion of Population: In percentage terms, the rural population formed 68.84% of the total population with the urban population constituting 31.16% (increase of 3.35%). Himachal Pradesh (89.96%) has the largest proportion of rural population, while Delhi (97.50%) has the highest proportion of urban population. The EAG States have a lower percentage of urban population (21.13%) in comparison to non EAG States (39.66%).

Sex Ratio: The Sex Ratio in the country which was 933 in 2001 has risen by 7 points to 940 in 2011. The increase in rural areas has been 1 point from 946 to 947. The same in urban areas has been 26 points from 900 to 926. Kerala has the highest sex ratio in total (1084), rural (1077) and urban (1091). In rural, Chandigarh (691) and in urban, Daman & Diu (550) show the lowest sex ratio in the country respectively. Eight states namely Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and 1 UT Lakshadweep show fall in the sex ratio in rural area and 2 Union Territories, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli, in urban areas.

Child Population (0-6 years): Out of the child population of 158.8 million in the age group of 0-6 in the country the rural child population stands at 117.6 million and urban at 41.2 million in 2011. The Child population has declined by 5.0 million in the country – decline of 8.9 million in rural areas and increase of 3.9 million in urban areas. The Country has observed a decline in the percentage of child population in the age group 0-6 years by about 3 percentage points over the decade – rural areas show a decline of about 3 % and urban a decline of 2%. The growth rate of Child population has been -3.08% in the last decade (Rural- (-)7.04%; Urban- (+)10.32%).

Child Sex Ratio (0-6 years): Census 2011 marks a considerable fall in child sex ratio in the age group of 0-6 years and has reached an all time low of 914 since 1961. The fall has been 13 points (927-914) for the country during 2001-2011. In rural areas, the fall is significant – 15 points (934-919) and in urban areas it has been 4 points (906-902) over the decade 2001-2011. Delhi (809) has recorded the lowest and Andaman & Nicobar Islands (975) the highest child sex ratio in rural areas. Haryana (829) has recorded the lowest and Nagaland (979) the highest child sex ratio in urban areas.

Urban population percentages for states, 2001

Number of Literates: As per the Provisional Population Totals of Census 2011, the number of literates in India was 778.5 million. Of this, 493.0 million literates were in rural areas and 285.4 million literates in urban areas. Out of an increase of 217.8 million literates over the decade 2001-2011, rural areas accounted for 131.1 million and urban areas 86.6 million. The highest number of rural literates has been recorded in Uttar Pradesh (88.4 million). Maharashtra (40.8 million) has recorded the highest number of literates in urban areas.

Literacy Rate: The Literacy Rate of India as per the Provisional Population Totals of Census 2011 is 74.04. In rural areas the Literacy Rate is 68.91 and in urban areas it is 84.98. The decadal change works out to 9.21 points – 10.17 points in rural areas and 5.06 points in urban areas respectively. The male Literacy Rate which is 82.14 (Rural- 78.57; Urban-89.67) is higher than the female Literacy Rate of 65.46 (Rural- 58.75; Urban-79.92). The increase in female literacy rate is significantly higher in all areas i.e. total (11.79 points), rural (12.62 points) and urban (7.06 points) in comparison to corresponding male literacy rates – total (6.88 points), rural (7.87) and urban (3.40 points) over the decade. It is significant to note that the gap in literacy rate among males and females has reduced to 16.68 in the country. The gap is 19.82 points in rural areas and 9.75 points in urban areas.

Kerala (92.92) ranks first in rural areas whereas Mizoram (98.1) ranks first in urban areas. As far as Male literacy rate is concerned, Kerala (95.29) ranks first in rural areas whereas Mizoram (98.67) ranks first in urban areas. Rajasthan (46.25) has recorded lowest female literacy rate in rural areas, whereas, Jammu & Kashmir (70.19) has the lowest female literacy rate in urban areas. Lowest male literacy rate in rural areas has been recorded in Arunachal Pradesh (68.79) and in urban areasin Uttar Pradesh (81.75).

[The full contents of Paper 2 of the 2011 Census can be found here.] Paper 2 sections and data links are:

India at a Glance by Rural, Urban Distribution [pdf, 1.1 MB]
Rural Urban Distribution of Total Population [pdf, 22.5 MB]
Rural Urban Distribution of Child Population [pdf, 18.0 MB]
Rural Urban Distribution of Literacy [pdf, 17.5 MB]
Administrative Units [pdf, 1.5 MB]
General Notes [pdf, 1.2 MB]
Rural-Urban Data Sheets [pdf, 7.9 MB]

Rural Urban distribution of population and proportion of Rural and Urban population [xls, 15kb]
Population and Sex ratio by residence [xls, 18kb]
Population, decadal variation and percentage share of population by residence [xls, 16kb]
Child population in the age group 0-6 years, percentage and sex ratio (0-6) by residence [xls, 15kb]
Number of literates and Literacy Rate by sex and residence [xls, 16kb]
A presentation on Rural-Urban distribution of Population [pdf, 2.5 MB]
Executive Summary [pdf, 62kb]

20110628The India Census 2011 page has been updated with the full text of Chapter 8 of the first official paper on the census. This deals with population projections.

20110523 – Major addition – Datasheets are now listed and linked for 21 of the major states. The states are: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha/Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal


The enumerator, India’s 2011 census illustration icon, representing the 2.7 million enumerators and supervisors, “the heroines and heroes of Census 2011”.

The first set of detailed state-level data is almost complete as a release from the Census of India, 2011 Census. In the post titled ‘India’s 2011 Census – the states and their prime numbers’ I am providing the data types for each state and the links to the Census documents. So far, data sheets for 12 states are listed and linked. These are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Kerala.


Exactly half of the twenty most populous states, each with a population of ten million or more, have added lesser persons in the decade 2001-2011 compared to the previous one. Had these ten states added the same number of persons during 2001-2011 as they did in the previous decade, everything else remaining the same, India would have added another 9.7 million more persons during this decade. [Text from the introductory note of Paper 1 on the Census.]

The phenomenon of low growth have started to spread beyond the boundaries of the Southern states during 2001-11, where in addition to Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka in the South, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab in the North, West Bengal and Orissa in the East, and Maharashtra in the West have registered a growth rate between eleven to sixteen percent in 2001-2011 over the previous decade.

The Provisional Population Totals of Census 2001 predicted this: “It is also obvious that in the contiguous four major South Indian states fertility decline appears to have well established, stretching to neighbouring Maharashtra on the west and Orissa and West Bengal in the east, whereas in other regions it is rather scattered.”

Among the smaller states and Union Territories, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu registered very high growth rates of more than fifty three percentage points. In contrast, Lakshadweep, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Goa have registered single digit decadal growth. Nagaland is the only State which has registered a small negative growth during 2001-2011 after very high growths in all the previous decades.

It took four decades for Kerala to reach a decadal growth of less than ten percent from a high growth rate of 26.29 percent during 1961-71 to 9.43 during 1991-2001. Although Kerala has continued with this impressive show to register a growth rate of just above 4.9 percent during 2001-2011, the decadal growth rates in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are still above 20 percent, a level where Kerala and Tamil Nadu were forty years ago. However, the International experience is (European Fertility Project) that once the fertility transition had been established in a linguistic or cultural area, it spread rapidly and independently of socio-economic level achieved.

Perhaps the policy measures taken in the decade have prepared the basic ground for a similar situation in India and, one may expect a faster rate of fall in growth rates in the remaining states and Union Territories with increase in literacy and child care facilities and a reduction in poverty. The road to a stationary population before 2060 is long and arduous and would require intense efforts.


The long-awaited first set of provisional totals and demographic data have been released. This is a big moment. India’s is after all the biggest population enumeration exercise in the world – yes China’s population is greater, but the evidence of census operations in the twentieth century suggests that India’s census (not number of people) is the most complex and data-intensive in the world. It is also the longest running series – Census 2011 is the fifteenth census from 1872!

In a country like India, with multiethnic, multilingual, multicultural and multilevel society, the Census is much more than a mere head count of the population. It gives a snapshot of not only the demographic but also the economic, social and cultural profile of the country at a particular point of time. More often than not, it is the only available source of primary data at the level of the village and town (ward). It provides valuable information for planning and formulation of policies by the Government and is also used widely by national and international agencies, scholars, and many more.

In addition, the Census provides a basic frame for conduct of other surveys in the country. Any informed decision making that is based on empirical data is dependent on the Census. Democratic processes like the delimitation of electoral constituencies and affirmative action like reservation are also based on the basic data sets of the Census. It has indeed come a long way from what was described as “the idle curiosity of an eccentric sirkar”. So said J  Chartres Molony, Superintendent of Census, Madras, 1911: “The Village Officer, source of all Indian information, is the recorder of his village, and it well may be that amid the toils of keeping accounts and collecting mamuls, he pays scant heed to what he and his friends consider the idle curiosity of an eccentric sirkar”.

The earliest references of Census taking in India can be traced back to the Mauryan period in Kautilaya’s ‘Arthashastra’ (321-296 BC) and later during the Mughal period in the writings of Abul Fazl (1595-96) in the ‘Ain-e-Akbari’. Records have it that in 1687, during the Governorship of Elihu Yale in Madras Presidency, the King of England desired that a count of the inhabitants of Fort St George be taken. This however was not followed up until 1872. A count was also taken up in 1853 in the North Western Frontier, which was followed by a series of Census like enumerations. However these “were not censuses but simple head counts”. Dr. W.R.Cornish, Superintendent of Census Operations, Madras, 1871: “The estimates of population of Madras previous to 1867 had been so various and the direct censuses of 1822 and 1863 were so untrustworthy that it had been found utterly impossible to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion as to the actual number of people…”. Rev C.W.Ranson: “…for the period prior to 1871, we are dependent for our knowledge of the growth of population of Madras upon estimates which at their best represent only informed guesswork and at their worst wildest conjecture”.

A systematic and modern population Census, in its present scientific form was conducted non synchronously between 1865 and 1872 in different parts of the country. This effort culminating in 1872 has been popularly labelled as the first population Census of India (the first synchronous Census in India was however conducted in 1881). Christophe Guilmoto: “1871 is probably the turning point of the statistical history of India owing to the inception of a century long tradition of decennial censuses which in turn triggered a new development in the monitoring of socio demographic phenomena like famines, epidemiology or the natural increase of population.”

The Indian Census has a long tradition of releasing the population data on a provisional basis within a short time after the completion of the Population Enumeration. The population totals are built up by each Enumerator right from the page totals of a few data items for each page of the Household Schedule, which are then consolidated at the Enumerator’s Block level. The totals at various Administrative levels the Tahsil/Taluk/Community Development Block etc., the Town, the District and the State are consolidated through a process of successive aggregation. The entire exercise of aggregation right from the Enumerator’s Block level to the State level is completed within a short span.

Dr C Chandramouli, the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, has cautioned that “the first flush of Census 2011 results, ‘The Provisional Population Totals’, is rather raw and not subjected to the intensive checks and cross checks as the usual final Census data is. Further, the numbers given are somewhat tentative and the final figures are found to be a bit different. Some caution is therefore needed while interpreting the results. The intelligent data user will definitely keep these limitations at the back of his mind but still use the data provided here to pick up some early demographic trends. The ‘Final Population Totals’ will be released after the scanning and the processing of information collected in the Household Schedule are completed.” (Data sheets, tables and explanatory material can be found on the Census of India website.)

The population of India, at the turn of the twentieth century, was only around 238.4 million. This has increased by more than four times in a period of 110 years to reach 1210 million in 2011. Interestingly, the population of India grew by one and half times in the first half of the twentieth century, while in the later half it recorded a phenomenal three-fold increase.

One of the important features of the present decade is that, 2001-2011 is the first decade (with the exception of 1911-1921) which has actually added lesser population compared to the previous decade. This implies that as a result of the combination of population momentum and somewhat impeded fertility, although India continues to grow in size, its pace of net addition is on the decrease.

In absolute terms, the population of India has increased by about 181 million during the decade 2001-2011. Although, the net addition in population during each decade has increased consistently, the changes in net addition has shown a steady declining trend over the decades starting from 1961. While 27.9 million more people were added between the decade 1981-1991 than between 1971-1981, this number declined to 19.2 million for the decades between 1981-1991 and 1991-2001. The provisional results of 2011 shows that between 2001 and 2011, the net addition is less than that of the previous decade by 0.86 million.

Population Growth Rates – It is significant that the percentage decadal growth during 2001-2011 has registered the sharpest decline since independence. It declined from 23. 87 percent for 1981-1991 to 21.54 percent for the period 1991-2001, a decrease of 2.33 percentage point. For 2001-2011, this decadal growth has become 17.64 percent, a further decrease of 3.90 percentage points.

The provisional population totals of Census 2011 brings a ray of hope with definite signs that the growth rate of population is tapering off especially in areas where it had been stagnant for several decades. There is also a marked decline in fertility as evidenced by the declining proportion of child population in the age group of 0-6 years. Independent India, urged by the First Census Commissioner R A Gopalaswami, who referred to “improvident maternity” as the primary cause of the population problem became the first country in 1952 to establish a policy for population control. For the world as a whole, demographers are generally confident that by the second half of this century we will be ending one unique era in history – the population explosion – and entering another, in which population will level out or even fall. Population pessimists have warned the congenital optimists, not to believe that humanity will find ways to cope and even improve its lot. Still, Malthus noted: “The exertions that men find it necessary to make, in order to support themselves or families, frequently awaken faculties that might otherwise have lain for ever dormant, and it has been commonly remarked that new and extraordinary situations generally create minds adequate to grapple with the difficulties in which they are involved”.

A feature of both mortality and fertility transitions has been their increasingly faster tempo. Targeted programmes like those on female literacy, improving general health care, improving female employment rates, minimum years of schooling, advocacy through village groups, etc. is slowly redefining motherhood from childbearing to child rearing. Census 2011 is perhaps an indication that the country has reached a point of inflexion. [Dr Chandramouli’s excellent opening essay, from which these extracts have been taken, is dated Chaitra, Ekadashi,Vikram Samvat 2067 (30th March 2011).]

This is the second of my entries on the 2011 Census of India (see the posts ‘One frozen moment in 1911’ and ‘British Bombay’s furious 1911 growth rate’). These will continue to appear as more data and analysis are released. A page will appear soon to contain all the entries, arranged chronologically, and which will link to data sets. The first group of tables I have now posted. These are:
Table_1-Distribution of population, sex ratio, density and decadal growth rate of population
Table_2.3-Literates and literacy rates by sex
Table_2.2-Population aged 7 years and above by sex
Table_2.1-Child population in the age group 0-6 by sex
Table_3-Sex Ratio of Total population and child population in the age group 0-6 and 7+ years-2001 and 2011

Food inflation crippled India’s households in 2010

with 4 comments

Vegetables, fruits and cereals market in in the city of Surat, Gujarat state, IndiaThe price of a basket of staple foods has become crippling in rural and urban India. The government’s response is to favour agri-commodity markets, greater retail investment and more technology inputs. For food grower and consumer alike, the need for genuine farm swaraj has never been greater.

The retail prices of staple foods rose steadily through 2010, far exceeding in real terms what the Government of India and the financial system call “headline inflation”, and exceeding also the rate of the rise in food inflation as calculated for the country. These calculations ignore the effective inflation and its increase as experienced by the rural and urban household, and they ignore also the considerable regional variations in India of a typical monthly food basket.

Vegetables, fruits and cereals market in in the city of Surat, Gujarat state, IndiaMoreover, from a household perspective an increase in the prices of food staples is not seen as an annual phenomenon, to be compared with some point 12 months in the past. It is intimately linked to employment (whether informal or seasonal), net income, and the pressures on the food budget from competing demands of medical treatment, education and expenses on fuel and energy.

When real net income remains unchanged for over a year or longer, the household suffers a contraction in the budget available for the food basket, and this contraction – often experienced by rural cultivator families and agricultural labour – is only very inadequately reflected by the national rate of increase in food inflation.

An indicator of the impact on households is provided by the price monitoring cell of the Department Of Consumer Affairs, Ministry Of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. This cell records the retail and wholesale prices of essential commodities in 37 cities and towns in India. Data over a 36-month period (2008 January to 2010 December) for the prices of cereals, pulses, sugar, tea, milk and onions reveals the impact of the steady rise in the Indian household’s food basket.

In 33 cities and towns for which there are regular price entries, the price per kilo of the “fair average” quality of rice has risen by an average of 42% over the calendar period 2008 January to 2010 December. In 12 of these urban centres the increase has been over 50% (Vijayawada, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Patna, Cuttack, Bhubaneshwar, Indore, Bhopal, Shimla, Karnal and Hisar).

The average price rise over the same period for a kilo of tur dal, for 32 cities for which there is regular price data, is 46%. In 11 of these urban centres the increase in the price of tur dal has been over 50% (Puducherry, Bengaluru, Patna, Agartala, Nagpur, Mumbai, Indore, Ahmedabad, Shimla, Jammu and New Delhi). Where wheat is concerned, from among the 27 cities and towns for which there are regular price entries over three years, in 10 the per kilo price rise is 30% and more.

Vegetables, fruits and cereals market in in the city of Surat, Gujarat state, IndiaIf in search of a comforting cup of tea over which to rue the effect of the steady price rise, this too will cost a great deal more than it did three years ago. For 25 urban centres with regular price data, the average increase over the same period of 100 grams of loose tea leaf is 38% and in 11 of these cities and towns the increase is between 40% and 100%.

The sugar with which to sweeten that cup of tea has become prohibitively expensive over the January 2008 to December 2010 period. For the 32 cities and towns for which there is regular price data, the average price increase for a kilo of sugar is 102%, the range of increase being between 76% and 125%.

This increase for sugar – relatively homogenous for the price reporting centres – exhibits the countrywide nature of the price rise of the commodity. Nor is there a household economy case for substituting sugar for gur, or jaggery. For the 17 towns and cities reporting data for gur prices over the same 36-month period, the increase in price over the period has been an average 118% with 11 of these centres recording an increase of over 100%.

Vegetables, fruits and cereals market in in the city of Surat, Gujarat state, IndiaAdding a third element of higher cost to the humble cup of tea is the price of milk. For the 25 towns and cities which recorded increases in the per litre price of milk over the 36-month period (one city recorded a drop) the average rise is 37%. In seven cities a litre of milk costs at least 50% more in December 2010 than what it did in January 2008 – Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Indore, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Patna and Hyderabad.

In conspicuous contrast are the rates of increase in price of cooking media – groundnut oil, mustard oil and vanaspati. Over the January 2008 to December 2010 period the 37 urban centres recorded average price increases of 10%, 9% and 10% respectively for groundnut oil, mustard oil and vanaspati.

Finally, the volatile allium cepa, or common red onion. In 29 cities and towns reporting regularly the per kilo prices of onion, the increase in price of the vegetable has been astonishingly steep. The average increase for 29 cities is 197.5% and in 14 the increase has been 200% and above – New Delhi, Shimla, Ahmedabad, Indore, Mumbai, Rajkot, Agartala, Aizawl, Bhubaneshwar, Cuttack, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Vijaywada. In pale comparison is the otherwise worrying average increase of 39.5% for a kilo of potatoes – this is the 36-month average increase recorded by 27 urban centres.

Billions of euros, and the zero-rupee note

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The German weekly newspaper, Die Zeit, is easily among the best designed papers in the world. It is also consistently critical in its investigations and reporting, and just as consistently innovative in the manner in which it presents subjects. Visually, Die Zeit’s pages have few peers worldwide, if at all.

Billions swallowed up (Die Zeit, Deutschland)This is a typical example of how Die Zeit is able to hold its readers’ interest, dramatically present numeric data and at the same time make a strong political statement about state spending.

The title of this arresting full page graphic is ‘Seid verschlungen, Milliarden!’, which means ‘Billions swallowed up’. The graphic purports to be an aid to politicians who notoriously have no idea, says Die Zeit, how many zeros there are in a billion but who blithely continue to agree to spend billions (of public money).

There are some eye-popping numbers represented by the coloured squares on this page. The German healthcare system is 245 billion euro, the income of the church in Germany is 330 billion euro, Germany’s federal budget for ‘Bildung und Forschung’ (education and research) is 11 billion euro, Germany must reserve 283 billion euro for pensions (which is separate from the 36 billion euro to be spent on pensions for its government officials).

Billions swallowed up (Die Zeit, Deutschland)The cost of sending all children in developing countries to school for five years is reckoned to be 321 billion euro, the development aid of the richest developed/industrialised countries is 72 billion euro, the cost of halving the incidence of poverty in developed countries (as under the UN’s Millennium Development Goals) is 32 billion euro, the cost to the USA of the 2003 Iraq war was 40 billion euro, and the cost to date of the Iraq and Afghanistan war to the USA is 1,242 billion euro.

While on the subject of money and public spending, The Economist has reported the issue of the zero rupee currency note. The surprising note looks like the typical 50-rupee note, except it is for ‘zero rupees’. In place of ‘Reserve Bank of India’ it says ‘Eliminate Corruption at all Levels’ and in the same vein has replaced the usual “I promise to pay the bearer…” with “I promise to neither accept nor give bribe”. This excellent public campaign has been launched by a Chennai-based NGO called 5th Pillar (P O Box No 5338, Chennai 600024, phone +91 44 65273056).

The zero rupee noteVijay Anand is president of the NGO and is also, according to the Economist report, an expatriate Indian physics professor from the University of Maryland “who, travelling back home, found himself harassed by endless extortion demands. He gave the (zero rupee) notes to the importuning officials as a polite way of saying no.” 5th Pillar reportedly had 25,000 zero rupee notes printed and publicised to mobilise opposition to corruption. The idea caught on and the NGO says it has distributed a million zero rupee notes since 2007. Haven’t seen any in Mumbai though – although in Mumbai it’s at least a hundred that the most junior traffic policeman will settle for and for municipal jobs one starts with 500 rupees, so 5th Pillar will need to do a Mumbai and Delhi set of zero-rupee notes in those colours, not 50-rupee colours.