New Delhi: In a first, Census 2021 will seek information of citizens through digital modes like smartphones, DTH/Cable TV connection, internet access, bank accounts of household members and so on. The process will now include an Android-based optional mobile application.

An official of the Home Ministry reportedly stated that the aim is to digitise the process. As a result, the government has been developing an app that the 30 lakh enumerators will be asked to download on their personal mobile phones for data entry. On downloading it, they will also receive an additional payment as an incentive.

The application will also function in an offline mode and the only time the enumerator will need internet connectivity is to download it and upload the data.

The application is likely to be tested in the next two months on a sample of 50 lakh enumerators. The data thus collected will only be used for internal consumption to a smooth process for the year 2021, the official said.

Meanwhile, the latest census will also not collect caste data, although the ministry had earlier declared that the Other Backward Caste (OBC) category would be included in it. The decision was made, according to MHA sources, due to the unreliable nature of caste data owing to various anomalies like different spellings, people citing gotra as caste and so on.

The Census 2021 will be conducted in three phases, a house enumeration which will be conducted from April to September 2020, population enumeration to be conducted in February 2021 and finally a revision round, from March 1 to 5.