Census, which is usually taken every decade, is in vogue in all countries in recent years.
Although all persons may not know the importance of taking a census, it is indispensable for overall development, which has been a focus of attention in every country in recent times, and Nepal is not an exception in this regard.
In Nepal, the first census was taken in 1911 with the prime objective of finding the total number of healthy persons capable of joining the Nepal Army. This census was also taken to send a Gorkha Army Contingent to help the United Kingdom during the First World War (1914-18) when Chandra Shumsher Rana was the prime minister of Nepal.
At that time, the total population of Nepal was 5,638,749.
The censuses taken in 1920 and 1930 showed a decrease in population.
This may have been due to natural disasters and some diseases as well as lack proper management and skilled human resources to conduct the census all over the country.
However, from the 1941 census onwards, when Nepal's population was 6,284,649, its population has been constantly showing an upward trend. As of June 2021, it is estimated to have reached 29,640,965. These censuses are not considered scientific because they were conducted on a head counting basis, and most employees involved in this work were not educated and well trained.
In fact, the censuses taken from 1952-54 onwards are considered to be scientific. It is mainly due to availability of more trained manpower and improved methods apart from better transportation and communication facilities. In addition, the increase in the literacy rate of the country has also affected the accuracy and the reliability of these censuses.
Now the twelfth census is underway in the country. Actually, it should have been conducted in June 2021. But it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, technical and some other problems.
The reliability of the present census depends to a large extent on the cooperation between the employees of the central Bureau of Statistics and the local people. Moreover, it also depends on their integrity and honesty.
In fact, population and development are interlinked. This is why any change in the population and its distribution across the country has effects on development, and any change in development has effects on the population.
For this reason, it is natural to wait for the results of the present census because they will help determine the future population and development policy, which will help expedite the overall development of this country in the future.
A version of this article appears in the print on November 12, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.