Population Priorities: Interim Budget 2024 and Census

Population Priorities: Interim Budget 2024 and Census

Source – The Hindu and PIB.

General Studies – Growth of Indian Economy, Budget, Interim Budget, Census, Population Control, Fertility Rate, National Family Health Survey, Demographic Dividend.

Why in the News ?

  • Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her interim budget speech that – “A high-powered committee will be constituted to consider the challenges arising from the rapidly increasing population and demographic changes.”
  • There is no direct evidence available to support this statement in the backdrop of repeated postponements of the decennial census by the Central Government.
  • This is the first time in India since 1881 that census has not been conducted in any decade.
  • At present the population of India is about 1 billion 40 crores.
  • The Sample Registration System statistical report and National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-21) conducted in the year 2020 show that the total fertility rate (TFR) in India has fallen to 2.
  • Even at present, some states – Bihar (2.98), Meghalaya (2.91), Uttar Pradesh (2.35), Jharkhand (2.26) and Manipur (2.17) – have higher fertility rates (TFR) than the average national fertility rate (TFR). That means it is 2.1.
  • The high population growth seen in the 20th century has now been nearly controlled.
  • The fertility rate (TFR) has come down from 5.7 in 1950 to 2 in 2020, although this figure varies in different regions.
  • The population share of the southern states of India has declined from 26 per cent in 1951 to 21 per cent in 2011, which is mainly a result of the rapid decline in TFR due to better socio-economic outcomes and education and this situation is reflected in This is despite high migration rates in the states.
  • While India’s current surveys are solid and necessary, they are not a substitute for a comprehensive census. The continued delay in conducting the census reflects the poor condition of the Union Home Ministry, which is motivated by other priorities rather than implementing an important program of the Indian government.
  • Demographic changes and increasing life expectancy rates in India have resulted in many challenges as well as some opportunities.
  • A developing country can benefit from the demographic dividend only when there are enough jobs for a relatively high proportion of the working-age population and people can enjoy some of the social protections that remain with them as they age. Prove to be helpful.
  • This dividend is likely to be wasted in India due to high unemployment and a relative slowdown in the last few years in the creation of non-agricultural jobs that increase productivity and meet skilled employment needs.
  • If this “high-powered” committee is meaningfully engaged in addressing questions related to jobs and social security and the challenges faced by citizens due to rapid urbanization and mechanization of work, it will play an important role. But if this committee looks at population from the perspective of religion and immigration, it will only divert the governance and government from making good use of the rapidly dwindling democratic dividend in the country.
  • The interim budget for 2024 has been presented ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, but it is different from the populist announcements of the 2019 interim budget.
  • The entire focus of the present government is on the infrastructural development in the country. The Finance Minister said that she will present a detailed roadmap of developed India in the July budget.
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her interim budget speech on Thursday, February 1, “The government sees the country/India as divided into only 4 castes – women, farmers, youth and poor.”
  • This time the interim budget has been presented to continue the essential services of the government. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has presented her first interim budget this year and sixth time as the Finance Minister of India.
  • The last interim budget in the year 2019 was presented by Union Minister Piyush Goyal, who was holding additional charge of the Finance Ministry after Arun Jaitley fell ill. Sitharaman was appointed Finance Minister after the Modi government came to power for the second time. As the Finance Minister of India, he presented the full budget on July 5, 2019. This was his first budget as Finance Minister in the year 2019.

Main differences between Union Budget and Interim Budget :

The interim budget is presented just before any general election in the country, while the full budget (Union Budget) is presented in the Parliament by any elected government. Following are the main differences between Union Budget and Interim Budget –

  1. The full budget or Union Budget is an annual budget presented by the central government in the Parliament, while the interim budget is presented just before the general elections.
  2. The full budget or Union Budget is passed after full discussion in the Lok Sabha, while the interim budget is presented without any discussion in the Parliament. Which is also called ‘Vote on the account’.
  3. In the Union Budget, details of income and expenditure of the previous financial year are given in detail, whereas in the Interim Budget, a general statement of income and expenditure of the previous financial year is presented. It is offered only to continue the essential services of the government.
  4. The Union Budget is always presented for an entire financial year, also called the full budget, whereas the interim budget is presented for expenditure covering a period of approximately 3 to 4 months of the financial year, including during an election year.
  5. In the Union Budget, many new schemes are announced by the government and funds are also earmarked for it, whereas no new schemes are announced in the interim budget.
  6. The Union Budget has two different parts. One of them is about the expenditure of the government, while the other part is based on the plan of the government to raise funds through various measures, whereas the interim budget does not give complete information about the sources of income of the government. It is introduced to meet the necessary expenses of the government before the formation of the next government.
  7. The full budget is presented by the government with a majority in Parliament, while the interim budget is presented in the year between the next Lok Sabha elections and the expiry of the previous Lok Sabha.

​Vote on Account :

  • Vote on Account is passed through Interim Budget (Interim Budget in Hindi). This allows the government to meet administrative expenses for the remaining days of the financial year. It is passed without any major discussion in the lower house of the Parliament. Unlike a regular budget where the budget is passed only after proper discussion. It is like an advance grant to the government of that time until the demand for grant is voted on and the Finance Bill and the Appropriation Bill are passed in Parliament. The amount of grant is generally one-sixth of the total estimated expenditure for the entire year under various demands for grants. Unlike the regular budget which is valid for one year, Vote on Account is usually valid for a period of two months.

Main differences between interim budget and vote on account :

Interim Budget and Vote on Account Budget are meant to serve the purpose of the government in meeting administrative expenses. The main differences between Interim Budget and vote on account are as follows –

  1. Interim Budget is passed when it is not possible for the government to present a full budget at the time of general elections. Whereas Vote on Account is passed through Interim Budget (Interim Budget in Hindi). It seeks parliamentary approval for the government of the day to meet the expenses for the remaining part of the financial year.
  2. The interim budget contains both receipts and expenditure statements. Whereas Vote on Account only lists the expenditure details to be borne by the government.
  3. The budget must be discussed in the lower house of parliament and passed to allow the government to meet its administrative expenses. Whereas since Vote on Account is treated as a formal matter, it can be passed by the Lower House of Parliament without any discussion.
  4. The government has enough power to make changes in tax administration even in the budget. Whereas the Vote on Account does not have the right to make any changes in the direct cost. Any change in direct tax can be brought only by a Finance Bill.
  5. It is like a budget which is presented for a transition period. However, it is presented for the entire year like a regular budget. Whereas Vote on Account is passed through Interim Budget.

Census :

  • Meaning of Census – To count the total number of people/citizens of any country. It is the process of collecting, compiling, analyzing and disseminating demographic, economic and social data of all individuals in any country at a specific time.
  • It also throws light on the characteristics of the population.
  • The census conducted in India is one of the largest administrative exercises conducted in the entire world.

Implementing Ministry :

  • In India, the decennial census of India is implemented and conducted by the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India.
  • The decennial census of India is conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs of India.
  • After independence, the Census Organization was established in India in 1951 to conduct a census every ten years, which is under the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

Legal/constitutional provisions related to census :

  • For the first time in independent India, the Census Act, 1948 was introduced in the form of a bill by the then Home Minister of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
  • Census in India is a subject in the Union List of India which is mentioned under Article 246 of the Constitution of India.
  • In India, census work is done throughout the country under the mentioned provisions of the Census Act, 1948.
  • Census is listed at serial number 69 of the Seventh Schedule of India in the Constitution of India.

Provision of penalty and guarantee of confidentiality of information collected :

  • The information gathered/collected from individuals/citizens is guaranteed confidentiality by the Government of India under the Census Act, 1948. Under this Act, there is a provision of penalty for both the public and census officers in case of non-compliance of this rule or violation of any provision of the Act.
  • The information collected during the census is so confidential that it is not accessible even to the Supreme Court and High Courts of India.

Gradual history of Census in India :

Ancient and Medieval History :

  • India’s ancient literature ‘Rigveda’ provides information about the population census conducted in India during 800-600 BC.
  • From ‘Arthashastra’ written by Kautilya, we get information that collection of population data was prescribed as a measure for formulating state policy for taxation done in the third century BC.
  • In the medieval period, ‘Ain-e-Akbari’, the administrative report of the reign of Mughal emperor Akbar, provides comprehensive data related to India’s population, industry, wealth and many other characteristics

Pre-independence Census of India :

  • The history of census in India began around 1800 AD when England started its census.
  • In India, census was conducted by James Prinsep in Allahabad (year 1824) and Banaras (year 1827-28).
  • The first complete census of an Indian city was completed in Dhaka (now in Bangladesh) by Henry Walter in the year 1830.
  • The second census of India was completed by Fort St. George in the year 1836-37.
  • The Government of India had ordered local governments to conduct a five-yearly census of population in the year 1849.
  • The first non-synchronous census of India was conducted in the year 1872 during the reign of Governor-General Lord Mayo.
  • On February 17, 1881, under British rule, W.C. The first synchronous census of India was conducted by Plowden (Census Commissioner of India).
  • In India, census has been conducted continuously once every ten years since then till the present time.

First census in India (1881) :

  • During British rule in India, the first census was conducted with special emphasis on classifying the demographic, economic and social characteristics of the entire Indian continent (except Kashmir, French and Portuguese colonies).

Second census (1891) :

  • The second census was conducted in the year 1881 during the British rule in India on the same system as the first.
  • It included 100 percent of all people and also included the upper parts of present-day Burma, Kashmir and Sikkim.

Third Census (1901) :

  • In the third census conducted in India, remote areas of Balochistan, Rajputana, Andaman Nicobar, Burma, Punjab and Kashmir were also included.

Fifth Census (1921) :

  • The population of India was continuously increasing till the census of 1921 and this increase continued even after the census of 1921. This was the decade when the 1918 flu pandemic struck, killing at least 12 million people. The decade 1911–21 has been the only decade so far to see a decadal decline in population of 0.31%.
  • The census year 1921 is also known as “The Great Divide” in the demographic history of India.

Eleventh Census (1971) :

  • This was the second census of India after India’s independence.
  • In this, for the first time a column was added in the form of a question for information about the fertility of married women.

13th Census (1991) :

  • Compared to the year 1981 when children aged four or more were considered literate, in this census for the first time the concept of literacy was changed and children aged seven or more were considered literate.
  • This was the fifth census of independent India.

14th Census (2001) :

  • For the first time, there was a huge change at the level of technology in the fourteenth census of India.
  • In this census the census was scanned through a high speed scanner and the handwritten data of the schedule was converted into digital form through Intelligent Character Reading (ICR).
  • In this, handwriting was captured from an Intelligent Character Reading (ICR) image file.
  • This census used an advanced version of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology in which printed characters are captured.

15th Census (2011) :

  • The 2011 census saw a significant decline for the first time in the case of EAG states (Empowered Action Group): Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Odisha.

Sixteenth Census (2021) :

  • This Census 2021 was postponed due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • For the first time, the census will be conducted in digital form, in which there is also a provision for self-counting.
  • In this, for the first time, information will be collected about such families and members living in families whose head is a transgender.
  • This census had columns only for male and females.
  • For the first time in this census, a column for transgender or third gender or other gender has also been added.
  • This census has not been made public yet.

Importance of Census of India :

Largest single source of statistical information: Indian Census is the largest single source of obtaining various types of statistical information about the citizens or people of India.

Various researchers use census data to analyze and predict population growth and trends.

Helpful in planning and policy making and good governance: In India, information collected through census is used for administration, planning and policy making as well as management and evaluation of various programs by the government. Therefore, Census of India is helpful in any kind of planning and policy making and maintaining good governance in India.

Helpful in delimitation of constituencies and allocation for representation: Census of India data is also used for delimitation of any constituencies and allocation for representation in Parliament, State Assemblies and local bodies.

Helpful for establishment of business and industry: Use of census data of India helps in better access for establishment of any business and industry. It helps business houses and industries to plan to strengthen their business in areas where they did not have access till now.

Helpful in providing grants to the states: The Central Finance Commission in India provides grants to the states on the basis of population data available through the Census of India. Therefore, Census of India is helpful in providing grants to the states in India.

Socio – Economic and Caste Census (SECC) :

  • The Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) was conducted in the year 2011 for the first time since 1931.
  • Under this, an effort is made to know about every Indian family in rural and urban India and to obtain the following information –
  • about economic status so that the Central/State authorities can use it to define poor/poor or deprived people and for this a variety of indicators can be developed.
  • The designation of specific castes has been done to enable the government to re-evaluate which caste groups are economically worse off and which are better off.

Practice Questions for Preliminary Exam :

Q.1. Consider the following statements with reference to the Interim Budget.

  1. The Interim Budget is presented just before the general elections.
  2. The Interim budget is presented during the election year, to cover expenses for a period of approximately 3 to 4 months of the financial year.
  3. No new schemes of any kind are announced in the interim budget.
  4. Complete information about the sources of income of the government is not given in the interim budget.

Which of the above statement /statements is correct ?

(A). Only 1, 3 and 4 

(B). Only 2, 3 and 4

(C) None of these.

(D) All of these.

Answer – (D)

Practice Questions for Main Exam :

Q.1. What do you understand by Budget? Explain the impact of the Budget on the population dividend by outlining the main differences between the Union Budget and the Interim Budget.


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