Census is one of the oldest activities of the governments in India and has begun regularly as early as in 1881.
It is India’s single largest administrative exercise, even though it is undertaken once in ten years.
Census has a long history behind it, is primarily used for the purpose of taxation.
– Kautilya’s Arthashastra, written in 300 B.C., emphasized census taking as a measure of state policy for collecting taxes.
Census is discussed in detail in chapter 35, which deals with the duty of the revenue collector.
While defining his functions, Kautilya writes- “he shall also keep an account of the number of young and old men that reside in each house, their history, occupation, income and expenditure.