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2021 census through mobile application

Every 10 years the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India operating under the Ministry of Home Affairs carry out the massive exercise to count different aspects of India’s billion plus population. At the recently held conference of state coordinators and directors of Census operations it was decided that the 2021 census will be conducted through mobile phone application.

Key Highlights

The official reference date of the census is to be March 1, 2021 and for the snow bound Himachal Pradesh, Uttarkhand and Himachal Pradesh it is to be October 1, 2020. Training of the officials participating in the program is to begin by October 14, 2019. The exercise is to be carried out in 16 different languages at a cost of 12,000 crore rupees

This is the first time Government is adopting a Digital method moving away from the traditional pen and paper method.

After the publish of NPR – National Population Register, the government is planning to prepare NRIC – National Register of Indian Citizens

About India Census

The last and 15th Census began in 2010. Around 2.7 million officials visited households in 7,935 towns and 600,000 villages. The Government spent around 2,200 crores rupees to conduct the census. In 2011, the transgender population was counted in population census in India for the first time. There were around 490,000 transgenders in the country according to 2011 census.

SECC

The SECC – Socio Economic and Caste Census was conducted in 2011. So far, the GoI has conducted SECC census four times in 1992, 1997, 2002 and 2011.

In 2017, the GoI agreed to use SECC instead of below poverty line as main instrument for identifying beneficiaries.

SC approves Centre’s Witness Protection Scheme

Supreme Court has approved Witness Protection Scheme 2018 and directed Union and State Governments to enforce the same.  This scheme was framed by Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in response to PIL seeking protection for witnesses.

Key Facts

The apex court held that scheme will become law under Article 141/142 of Constitution till enactment of parliamentary and state legislations on the subject. It also directed states/UTs to set up the vulnerable witness deposition complexes (VWDCs) within period of 1 year (by the end of 2019). It also observed that there is paramount need to have witness protection regime in statutory form. The main reasons for establishing these VWDC is  large percentage of acquittal in criminal cases is due to witnesses turning hostile and giving false testimonies, mostly due to lack of protection for them and their families.

Witness Protection Scheme 2018

It has been formulated by Home Ministry on the inputs received from 18 States/UTs, five state legal services authorities and open sources including civil society, three high courts as well as from police personnel. It was finalised in consultation with National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).

It aims to ensure that investigation, prosecution and trial of criminal offences does not turn out to be biased as witnesses are intimidated or frightened to give evidence without protection from violent or other criminal recrimination.

Essential features

  • Identifying categories of threat perceptions
  • Preparation of Threat Analysis Report by the head of police
  • Confidentiality and preservation of records, recovery of expenses, etc.
  • Types of protection measures like ensuring that witness and accused do not come face to face during investigation etc. protection of identity, change of identity, relocation of witness

Three types of witnesses categorises

  • Threat extends to life of witness or his family members during investigation, trial or thereafter.
  • Threat extends to safety, reputation or property of witness or his family members, during investigation, trial.
  • Threat is moderate and extends to harassment of witness or his family member’s, reputation or property during investigation, trial or thereafter.

Categorised witnesses under the scheme can file application for seeking protection order before competent authority of concerned district where offence is committed. This competent authority will be chaired by District and Sessions Judge. Head of police in the district will be its member and head of prosecution in the district as its member secretary.

When this authority receives application, it has to call for Threat Analysis Report (TAR) from ACP/DSP in charge of the concerned Police Sub-Division. The authority is also empowered to order protection measures based on TAR such as identity protection, change of identity and relocation of witnesses.