Counting heads in India – arguably one of the biggest mathematical sums in the world and an exercise that will last a year.
It is the country’s census which is held every ten years. Each person over the age of 15 will be photographed and fingerprinted to create, for the first time, a biometric national database. The government will then issue identity cards.
President Pratibha Patil started the census in which two and a half million officials will take part nothing like it has been completed before as Mr. P. Chidambaram, the Minister for Home Affairs explained.
“We are beginning to identify, count, enumerate, record and then issue an identity card to 120 crore (1.2 billion) people. An exercise of this has not been attempted anywhere else in the world.”
In over 600,000 villages, some 7,000 towns officials will begin by recording information on living conditions. It is the country’s 15th census and the results are expected sometime in mid 2011 when we should know if the population still stands in the region of 1.2 billion.