The Census of India conducts one of the most comprehensive census exercises in the world. Since the first synchronous census conducted in 1881, census in India has been conducted regularly after every ten years. The Census of India thus provides authentic data about the population of India, with elaborate information about its gender, religion, occupation, educational status, age, language, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, disability, migration etc. Such data is used extensively by the government to assess from time to time the need of people and thereby address their concerns through various policy initiatives. The data is also used widely by scholars and researchers across the globe to understand the population dynamics and identify significant themes of social, economic and political importance in Indian society.
Given its critical role in providing vital data to range of researchers, the Govt of India decided to establish data dissemination centres in leading universities where the data can be accessed by researchers much more easily and effectively. The first such centre was established at the Jawaharlal Nehru University by the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. After a fruitful experience at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, the next such centre was established at Punjabi University, Patiala. Currently there are only 18 such centres in India located indifferent parts of the country.
The centre is located on the second floor of the New Management Building in the university.
It has one server and four terminals for use of researchers. Appropriate software for analysis has also been provided. Initially, the 1991 and 2001 census tables have been loaded on the computers. Gradually, more data would be loaded as these become available and thus be made accessible for research.
A Steering Committee consisting of senior members of the university and officers from the Office of the Registrar General oversees the functioning of the centre.
The Centre is open to all students and researchers from 10:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. and from 2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. on all working days of the university.
The users could register in the Centre and convey to the Census Data Manager the specific requirements of tables. On checking availability, the tables would be released on the terminal for access by the user. The Data Manager could guide the users on availability of tables. The users could carry out the analysis with the help of the software loaded on the system. In case the specific tables are not available in the repository, the user could make a request to the manager who will forward this to the Steering Committee. The Committee will examine the feasibility of preparing and releasing the tables and such tables that can be prepared without revealing individual identities would be provided.