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State population commission and delimitation exercise

IFP Editorial: When two important data Census and Electoral Roll do not match, it is certain that either of the two have errors and are not based on actual position. This also automatically puts a doubt on both the 2011 and 2021 Census figures. It cannot form the basis for the delimitation exercise.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 5 Oct 2022, 2:49 am

Representational Image (Photo: Pixabay)
Representational Image (Photo: Pixabay)

The demand of state CSOs regarding the constitution of a State Population Commission has now been heard and the state assembly had recently passed a resolution to press Centre for institution of the Commission and taking up the exercise of NRC.

Taking exception to the proposed delimitation exercise in 2020, several civil society organisations have come up with a demand for setting up a State Population Commission to resolve the issue of abnormal population growths and for finding accurate Census data. They say, both 2001 and 2011 Census figures should not form the basis of the exercise. States, including Manipur had objected to the last delimitation exercise citing several reasons including doubtful Census figures.

The state Chief Minister N Biren Singh had objected to a delimitation exercise based on ‘wrong’ Census figures and has called for delimitation on a fresh Census figure without controversy. The then Congress regime had also objected to the delimitation exercise on 18 November 2005, after an all-party meeting. Now, some groups in the northeast had come up with a prayer to the Supreme Court for starting the delimitation exercise.

Now the question is, why are certain sections objecting to delimitation based on 2001 Census figures? Census operations of 2001 in Manipur were controversial and results were misleading with abnormal growth rates.

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The then Manipur government decided to order a fresh census after discussions with the team from the Union Home Ministry and the Registrar General of Census Operations. A fresh survey in 19 subdivisions of the hill and valley districts was ordered. When the enumerators went for re-survey, they were met with resistance from villagers. A group called the Re-Census Protest Committee described the fresh survey as unconstitutional and unauthorised.

The exercise was labelled as an attempt to deny the tribal people their rights. Some even tried to paint a communal bias to the objection saying that the valley people were concerned with losing some constituencies to the hills and thereby upsetting the power balance. Fact is, Census figures of 2001 of Manipur were not complete.

Census of Senapati district was not actually conducted but was based on estimated figures. The final figure of Census 2001 of Manipur was estimated at 22,93,896. This figure was not based on actual head count but on projected data.

Another fact is that, there is a mismatch between Census 2001 data and Electoral Roll 2020 prepared by the State Election Department. 2001 Census data exceeds the voter list enrolled in 2020 in many of the age groups, according to experts. Nearly 63,765 individuals are not reflected in the Electoral Roll 2020. It indicates that these persons are fake.

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Electoral Roll is a very sensitive issue. Only a few individual cases are there where a voter is excluded from the list. A special drive has been made through rectification of Electoral Roll in Manipur. Recently, about 75,000 bogus voters have been removed from this district.

When two important data Census and Electoral Roll do not match, it is certain that either of the two have errors and are not based on actual position. This also automatically puts a doubt on both the 2011 and 2021 Census figures. It cannot form the basis for the delimitation exercise.

So, before any delimitation exercise there is a need to determine actual population figures through a Population Commission. Let the state government pursue the matter with the Government of India.

- EDITORIAL

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Tags:

delimitation exerciseelectoral rollnrcstate population commission2001 Census

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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