Mangaluru: Uncooperative public, scorching heat - Census enumerators share woes

Clement Pais
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru

Mangaluru, Apr 28: The much publicized caste census is approaching its final day. First we heard anti-census sentiments which died down once the process started, and after that we have been hearing about the modalities of the census in which the persons involved, in other words the enumerators, have been criticized heavily for their style of working.

Amidst all the criticism, Daijiworld decided to look at the problems faced by the teachers who have been engaged in the recent census. We interviewed a few teachers who are engaged in the task of collecting information from the public. In the interest of enumerators, real names have been mentioned here.

Despite allegations that some of the enumerators do not ask all the 55 questions in the form, one of the enumerators we interviewed asserted that they do ask all the questions to every family.

When asked if they fill the forms with pencils as alleged, Meena (name changed) replied, "To make it a fair copy at the spot itself I use pen and not pencil. Whatever people say I write. Also we have a book of records of families to cross check."

The cooperation from the public has not been so great, which has further hampered their task. "People are fed up. Most of them were rude, but some were hospitable and offered us some drink. They asked us questions in return fearing that they might lose the benefits offered by the government. If we don’t answer them we don't get answers from them. First of all there are too many questions to be asked in the form and over that answering their queries consumes lot of time," Meena said.

(Photo for display purpose only)

Asked if there was any short cut method to finish the work faster, she said, "No way! The place where I am sent to is Bondantila village. It takes almost 40 to 45 minutes to cover the distance and collect data from only one house. In a day I could cover only 7- 8 houses. Sometimes the members of the house will not be there even after we visit 2-3 times. This annoys me. Questions about wet land, dry land belonging to the revenue department are also given to us. Details like caste etc can be got from the Aadhar card information. This is a repetition, waste of time and waste of money.

"I feel that this (census) won’t be successful. Even if 20 more days are given, this work will not be over. Moreover, not all people tell the truth. They do not give us proper information. Some people have 2-3 ration cards in a house. In some cases, the ration card is of one place and they stay in another place. So the information will be recorded twice. Some do not even give their correct age so it doesn’t tally. People who own shops, land and other assets hide such information and say they own only a house. Rich people have BPL cards (some who own BPL cards allegedly buy rice under Anna Bhagya scheme and sell). In Swasahaya Sangha, Dharmasthala Gramina Abhivrudhi Sangha and Sthree Shakti, only Hindus and Muslims are involved. Christians are not taking initiative to involve themselves in such societies," Meena said.

Asked how she was coping with the scorching summer heat, and the fact that they had to give up their vacation for this work, the enumerator said, "Each teacher is given 160 houses which is too much. Fifty houses would have been better.

"It is affecting our health. I have a sciatic problem and I was supposed to be operated on April 11. I postponed it because of this census. Since all are on vacation there is no one to help. Teachers are suffering because of lack of sleep, insufficient meals, no time for family responsibilities, functions and so on. We are exhausted and waiting for it to finish. Our vacations are occupied with census. We do not have so-called 'human rights'. As it is an interior village there are no proper roads, and there is lack of cleanliness in some houses. Sincere teachers like me take lot of trouble to include new houses, while others leave them out. We have lost our patience. Teachers who are sick and old are assigned with such a hectic and difficult job while the younger ones find a way to escape," Meena said.

Talking to another enumerator on phone, he said, "We try to ask all the questions but we have to complete 150-200 houses within 20 days, which is a huge task. The sun is scorching and we feel tired and dizzy walking to every house.

"The response of the people is very bad; when we ask questions regarding religion, caste, sub caste, income etc, they do not respond to us properly, and even speak rudely. As most of the people are unhappy with the caste census itself, we skip a few questions like whether you have toilet, source of light, do you have drinking water, source of cooking etc, as answers to these questions are common and same in every house we visit," he added.

On having to give up vacation time for census, he said, "We are government servants, it is our job to do it. If we do not work we have to face action so we have no choice, and we have to do this in spite of the scorching heat."

He further said, "We can finish 5-6 houses a day and we collect all the signatures from houses. We are doing this job amidst so many difficulties."

Another enumerator, when contacted on phone, said that the response from the people was good and they cooperated, which made the task easier. "It is sunny and it is hard to work. Most of the houses we visit are locked. I have received good response from the people wherever I went. I have asked all the questions, and it took me 45-50 minutes to complete each house. It is a government job and we do it sincerely. We were finding it hard to ask questions regarding land, shop, house etc and we did not get proper information. I must thank the people where I was assigned as they welcomed us, gave us juice and even offered food, which motivated us to work more," she said.


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Comment on this article

  • anita mahesh, mangalore

    Thu, Apr 30 2015

    why only teachers are highlighted doing this job ..even other government employees are on the job..facing same problems...and have to do their regular office work along with the census duty

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Prem Vani, Mangalore

    Wed, Apr 29 2015


    Caste system may be available in some communities. If anything is not relevant to you, just write not applicable in particular column. It is that much simple.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Prem Vani, Mangalore

    Wed, Apr 29 2015

    Dear Agarval,

    Govt. cannot make two types of Census Format. If you have toilet facilities, you can just mention in that column as N/A not applicable to you.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Roshan, Ullal

    Wed, Apr 29 2015

    It is difficult to question people from Dakshina Kannada. Across religious and caste lines people here cross question a lot, if you ask one question they will ask you 50 questions in return. In short, people here are cunning and smart they wont answer your question so easily.

    DisAgree Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ruchir Agarwal, Mangalore

    Wed, Apr 29 2015

    Most of the questions are v stupid and irrerevent.Like where the Toilet is situated ? also questions of caste /sub caste which the present young generation may not know

    DisAgree [2] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Prem Vani, Mangalore

    Wed, Apr 29 2015

    Dear Agarwal,

    Questions like on TOILETS may sound to you as useless. May be you are living in Urban area and you have that facility, good.

    I request you please go to rural areas of Karnataka State and check the pathetic conditions of houses in villages. They don't have proper toilet facilities and other basic facilities for their families. Sometimes, huts or small houses are crowded in some small areas and they do not have toilet facilities. Imagine brother, in such cases where they have to go? So this question in the CENSUS FORM about toilets is reasonable so that government could arrange such facilities to the poor and needy.

    Brother, Hope you understand now.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ruchir Agarwal, Mangalore

    Wed, Apr 29 2015

    Agree with you. but that question can be d for rural areas na ?

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ruchir Agarwal, Mangalore

    Wed, Apr 29 2015

    Agree with you. but that question can be d for rural areas na ?

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Prem Vani, Mangalore

    Wed, Apr 29 2015

    Dear Agarval,

    Govt. cannot make two types of Census Format. If you have toilet facilities, you can just mention in that column as N/A not applicable to you.

    DisAgree [1] Agree Report Abuse

  • Hasan Yusuf , Mangalore - Kuwait

    Wed, Apr 29 2015


    All about the ongoing SOCIO-ECONOMIC & CASTE Census – 2015 conducted by Karnataka State Government:

    The present plights and woes shared by the teachers are genuine and are to be taken care of.

    The intention of the government behind this CENSUS may be for good, but lack the proper arrangements in the following areas:

    1. CENSUS lacks adequate planning, time frame, training, facilities, and no proper data collecting methodologies are being applied.

    2. Proper efficient and energetic unbiased Enumerator teams / volunteers are to be ed.

    3. Every Enumerator team may comprise of 3 unbiased energetic and efficient Volunteers, better one each from Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities.

    4. All the teams should be properly trained in advance.

    5. For the smooth fulfillment of the CENSUS, the proper target can be 6 to 8 houses for each team in a day.

    6. Adequate number of days are to be given to the respective teams depending upon their targets.

    7. All the teams are to be properly compensated/paid for their efforts.

    8. Transport facilities and food/snack facilities are to be arranged for the Enumerators.

    9. Mass Awareness Campaign: At least 3 months awareness campaign for the public has to be conducted through all the availing media sources that is through Gatherings, seminars, lectures, handbills, print and portal medias, social internet pages, radio and Television. Volunteers have to visit each and every houses as a part of this awareness campaign. The government has to inform all the families to treat the visiting enumerator teams with respect and kindness. Advice them to ask peacefully if there are any genuine Queries.

    10. Proper supervision of Enumerators’ work in progress is to be made by the trained inspectors. Inspectors have to check the teams whether they are properly recording the census datas.

    11. A photocopy of the CENSUS form has to be given to each and every house 15 days in advance and request them to keep the answers ready so that it will save the time of the Enumerators and make their job easy.

    12. Electronic data Entries: Government has to appoint Unbiased personnel to make the true CENSUS data entries in the Electronic system. It should be properly supervised by the trained inspectors. Proper true data entries in electronic system is most important as this will be the base used by the Government for the future requirements.

    13. The Government has to appreciate the efforts of the Enumerators.

    Let us hope for the good.

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • C D Souza, Kuluru, Mangalore

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    While i agree with the woes of census enumerators who will listen to the woes of citizens. The other day a nun came to my home for census. When asked about religion i told her i am an athiest (an option given to people). She could not digest this (she marked all this in pencil) and without taking further details she almost ran away. Now what is the guarantee she will give corect details about my household and how she is going to fill the remaining info about my family? Why should my personal belief offend the enumerator? Who can i complaint about this?

    DisAgree [2] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Peter, Mangalore

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    I can feel the pain and hastle / struggle faced by these people. My question here is Even though CENSUS team collect 100% accurate figure of individual (may it be in Pen or Pencil written) what is the guarantee that, it will be accurate when it will be given to a typist who has been outsourced. Now to correct this error individual may have to run from pillar to post.

    Ultimately, this will end up in crap and result in another scandal.

    Intention may be good, but the method adopted is is not at all right

    DisAgree [1] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Tom Cat, Mangalore

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    Census enumeration expenditure will be another scam .

    DisAgree [3] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Roshan Braganza, Mumbai

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    I hope male members of family are fully aware of groups like ' stree sakti and other women patronizing groups during the census , which are feminist in nature and can create problems if they are entertained. This kind of groups or agendas does no good for family specially men , the rising misuse of domestic laws are perfect example. Also questionnaire should include why government made a eldest female member as head of ration card family mandatory !?. Isn't it gender prejudice and privileges ? , why bias against men "?

    DisAgree [2] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse


    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    First question is why this census.
    The plight of teachers across the country is very questionable.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse


    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    caste census for ulterior motive by Govt. Hence, people are uncooperative.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shekar Moily Padebettu, Udupi/India

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    I do agree about the plight of the enumerators.It was a tough and difficult job under scorching sun without any facilities like transport or some other mode of transportation.I personally experienced their plight when they visited our house for censues.I asked some questions with the lady enumerator,who visited our house for census,which is very hard to digest.But they have to oblige the orders of their superiors in spite of all the odds.Otherwise they have to face the consequences.Even they are paid very less for their work.They cannot enjoy their vacation,attend family programme or socialize.As some of the enumerators said,it is true that some people are uncooperative and rude and ask some unwanted questions without disclosing the facts.Overall I felt this was a tough job.Sometimes they have to walk by foot under scorching sun and humid climate.They were doing the job entrusted to them,fearing the consequences.Nobody can understand their plight.But yes,I have seen it personally,which is heart-wrenching.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [28] Reply Report Abuse

  • Max, Mlore

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    Really a sad mystery, government should think seriously about this. They need to allocate different team for this, whole year teachers need to work at school & in holidays census really not fair.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [37] Reply Report Abuse

  • sid, mangalore

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    this is nothing but nonsense by the sleeping gov in Karnataka. no body works on these statistics. No real data , no real planning . this is how the nation is running past so many years

    DisAgree [7] Agree [34] Reply Report Abuse

  • yogesh, mumbai

    Tue, Apr 28 2015

    Bcoz public is fed up with census without tangible results. What benefits have been given to General Merit(GM)high caste so far? OBC, SC/ST only getting Siddu's lion share of funds.

    DisAgree [8] Agree [29] Reply Report Abuse

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