Digital Planet > On the Record > Census goes digital in India

Census goes digital in India

Bhaskar Chakravorti joins the BBC Sounds podcast to discuss India’s plan for a new digital census, and explains the challenges and opportunities that come along with it.

October 5, 2021

An example of how census data is typically collected in India. Source: Trak.In

This decade’s Indian national census will be the first to be carried out digitally, explains BBC Sounds Podcast host Gareth Mitchell. While the plan may simplify the collection of census data in the country, COVID-related delays have slowed its progress and there are growing concerns about its accuracy.

Fletcher’s Dean of Global Business Bhaskar Chakravorti explains how data will be collected in the new digital census system, and discusses why the census is likely to miss essential parts of the population, due in part to gaps in the country’s digital infrastructure and issues relating to broadband accessibility. He says that less than half the country’s population has access to a smartphone, and a significant portion of those who do have smartphones do not have access to broadband connectivity.

The adoption and usage of digital technologies between men and women in India also poses a considerable hurdle. Supporting this claim, Chakravorti shares findings from Digital Planet’s Digital Intelligence Index, which ranked India 77th out of the 90 countries studied in regards to it’s digital inclusiveness, and 84th out of 90 in regards to its gender-based inclusiveness. These issues, coupled with the gaps in the country’s broader digital infrastructure, would likely leave the communities most in need of public services misrepresented or miscounted in the proposed digital census program.

Listen to the podcast

More from Digital Planet

On the Record

Explore Articles and Op-Eds

Research Reports

Explore Latest Research

Off the Charts

Explore Visual Archive


Digital Intelligence Index

November 19, 2020


| Edit

An interactive research report that indexes trust in the digital economy and its evolution across 90 economies during the COVID-19 pandemic. This report features a collaborative research platform that provides data and evidence-driven actionable insights to leaders in government, business and technology.

Public Services during COVID19

Which governments are best equipped to deliver public services online during a lockdown?

June 8, 2020


| Edit

The delivery of public services online requires two necessary conditions: the infrastructure — hardware and software — for governments to deliver public services digitally, and the availability of affordable internet access. We scored and arrayed 42 countries on these two aspects: (1) digital public services and (2) inclusive and affordable internet. Additionally, we wove in a snapshot of government lockdown and social distancing mandates into this analysis.

Uneven State of the Nation

Uneven State of the Union: How US States Differ in Slowing COVID-19

May 29, 2020


| Edit

Even as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the United States, reaching over 1.67 million cases and nearly 100,000 deaths as of May 26, 2020, many states are now beginning to ease social distancing and stay-at-home mandates. Each state is taking its own unique approach to lifting stay at home orders, allowing businesses to open, and loosening social distancing regulations, due in no small part to a lack of direction from the federal government.

COVID 19 lockdown

COVID Lockdown: How prepared are countries around the world to enter and exit Lockdowns

May 26, 2020


| Edit

How prepared are countries to work in socially distant modes and lift lockdown orders during the COVID-19 pandemic? We examined this question by evaluating 42 countries that are significant in the global economy and have enacted social distancing measures. Some countries that were missing key data were not included. We scored the “social distance readiness” of their economies using three indices developed with our team

Person uses cell phone to complete payment at store

The Ease of Doing Digital Business

March 2, 2020


| Edit

How easy is it for the most significant digital platforms to enter, operate, thrive or exit in markets around the world, and what are the primary facilitators and barriers? In our quest for answers, we drew upon 236 variables across 42 countries from over 60 data sources. We considered four types of digital platforms representing distinct value propositions and the primary business models—e-commerce platforms, digital media, sharing economy platforms, and online freelance—as the leading indicators of digital business opportunities in a country.

Building “Smart Societies”: A Blueprint for Action

March 1, 2020


| Edit

In this report, we offer a comprehensive framework that covers the essential societal outcomes and a set of benchmarks to measure the progress of any country on the journey towards a “smart society.” For countries aspiring to accelerate that journey, this report offers a dashboard that helps a country’s policymakers locate where the country currently is relative to the benchmarks and what its areas of strength and advantage are.

Digital Planet 2017 Report

Digital Planet Report: 2017

February 25, 2020


| Edit

The DEI 2017 is a data-driven holistic evaluation of the progress of the digital economy across 60 countries, combining more than 100 different indicators across four key drivers: Supply Conditions, Demand Conditions, Institutional Environment, and Innovation and Change. The resulting framework captures both the state and rate of digital evolution and identifies implications for investment, innovation, and policy priorities.

Shopping Basket