Saturday, April 3, 2010

Newsy: India Announces Largest Census in the World

Big Brother is here, again: India is conducting a biometric census of its 1.2 billion people, collecting fingerprints, and taking photos of everyone over the age of 15:
“India's launched a massive biometric census to gather information on its billion-plus population. Some two million people will work to photograph and fingerprint every citizen over the age of 15. (Flash) This biometric card is what you will need to have in order to authenticate your identity. (Russia Today /Bloomberg)
That’s right, the worlds largest head count is happening in India. Its the first biometric census to be done on a colossal scale. India hopes to create a database for its people – recording as much information as possible. 
We’re following coverage from Russia Today, Bloomberg, the BBC, and the Hindustan Times.
A Bloomberg correspondent in India reports how the country is making an effort to eliminate the caste system: “The government has no intention of opening the Pandora’s box by going in for a caste-based census. According to the government, there is no way of authenticating the caste of individuals besides what he or she claims. … The census itself is not going to conduct the caste. At least let me be blunt, I think in the future, you have to go into a casteless system in India.” 
With a census of this magnitude and level of intricacy the Hindustan Times says -conducting the survey will be extremely difficult: “The exercise has formidable challenges -- coverage of a vast geographical area, left-wing rebels and separatists, widespread illiteracy, and people with a bewildering diversity of cultures, languages and customs.”
But as the BBC shows, India’s home minister is determined: “An exercise of this kind has not been attempted anywhere in else in the world. This exercise must succeed. This exercise will succeed, but I need your support… (flash) We will leave no stone unturned, to reach every village, every habitation in this country, and count every person.”
So what do you think? Can India pull off the massive census?

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