Methodology of Minor Irrigation Census


As in the earlier 4th MI Census, the methodology for conducting 5th MI Census involved canvassing paper based enumeration schedules for collecting village level and MI scheme-wise data in the rural areas. The Village schedules were normally canvassed by Patwaries through enquires from village level workers/gram pradhans and the information available from revenue or land records maintained in the office of Government authorities.  The other two schedules of 5th MI Census - namely ground water and surface water schedules, were canvassed by primary enumerators through enquiries from the owners of schemes.  In case of institutional schemes, the information is collected through available records. In most of the States/UTs, the field work of the census was undertaken by the Nodal department itself and in rare cases, entrusted to some other agency which the State Governments considered fit, taking into account field level staff available with them.  The schedules along with the instruction manual and related documents were provided to the primary enumerators. For the entire census operation, Minor Irrigation Census Commissioners in States/UTs, were the pivotal point.  


A Steering Committee was constituted at the Central level under the Chairmanship of Secretary and members from Planning Commission, Central line Ministries like  Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Statistics and Programme Implementation, State Governments of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan & Tamil Nadu apart from Central Water Commission and Central Ground Water Board to guide and advise about the conduct of 5th MI Census. The methodology of the Census, schedules etc. were finalised in the Steering Committee.

A Steering Committee is also formed in each State with Secretary of the Nodal Department as Chairman and members from the State Departments of Revenue, Irrigation, Panchayati Raj, State Planning, Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Rural Development and State head of National Sample Survey Office (Field Operations Division) to provide technical inputs and guide the State Nodal Statistical Cell during the Census operations. The Regional Chief Engineer of Central Water Commission and a representative from regional office of Central Ground Water Board are also members of this Committee, wherever possible. Teams are also formed at State level which includes officers of the State Statistical Cell for conduct of census in the state. These teams would be entrusted with the work of training, monitoring, coordination and  supervision of the Census exercise in the state.  Thus the technical staff of the State Statistical Cells are trained during the State level trainings organized by the Centre.


The primary enumerators while canvassing the schedules visit the owner of the Minor Irrigation Schemes and collect information on the basis of personal enquiry from him. The physical verification of the schemes is also done by the enumerators. The purpose of the Census is explained to the farmers to win over their confidence in revealing the specific information in respect of Minor Irrigation works. Assurance that the data furnished by them would be kept confidential is given to the farmers. Certain information relating to the scheme is collected by the enumerators by physical examination of the scheme. After filling up the schedules, the enumerators are required to deposit all completed schedules with the Block development Officer/Officer-in-charge at the block level.


Primary enumerators for field work  were either  village level workers or village accountants or Lekhpals or Patwaries or any other official designated by the State/UT Government.  The work of supervision was entrusted to higher supervisor level officers of the field agency. However the overall quality of field work was monitored by Block/District/State level officers, who in order to ensure the correctness of data conducted frequent site visits of the schemes as per prescribed norms and checked  the entries made by primary enumerators. In addition, Central team along with the State Statistical Cell officials conducted field visits in the States/UTs and checked the quality of field work.


The block level officers had to visit atleast 5 villages in their respective blocks and physically verify the schemes covered, quality of census and the extent of coverage of schemes in the village and scrutinise at least 10% or 300 schedules, whichever is maximum, in order to ensure the correctness of data collected. On completion of the scrutiny and after the field visits, he fills up the Supervisor’s report form and submits it to the State Nodal office. He submits all the schedules to the district level officer concerned where the data are first scrutinized by the district level officer. At least 1% of the total schedules or 100 schedules, whichever is maximum, are selected at random and scrutinized by the district level officer. The district level officers had to visit atleast 5 villages in 5 separate blocks in their respective districts to physically verify the quality and coverage of the MI Schemes in the census. After the field work is completed and scrutiny of forms is over, the supervisor’s report form is filled up by the district level officers and submitted to the State Nodal office. The Monthly Progress Reports on the Census are sent by the State reflecting scrutiny /inspection details along with progress of field work. The schedules are then handed either to any State Government Department for in-house data entry or to any other agency selected for data entry by the State Government concerned.


For the first time, online web-based software was developed for computerisation of data of the 5th MI census by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.  This eliminated the need for separate installation of software in States/UTs, as in previous Census. The real-time Progress Monitoring module enables to view the progress in data entry and take timely corrective action both at the Central as well as State/UT level, thereby reducing delays. In addition, the software has different modules for data entry, validation and updation by States/UTs apart from tabulation and other useful reports. Central and State Government officials in the Nodal Department are provided separate user credentials for accessing the software as per requirements.

The 5th MI Census data computerised by States/UTs are stored in a Central database server located in New Delhi and maintained by NIC. This also eliminated the need for physical transmission of data in CDs as in previous Census.  The real time Census data as available in the tabulation reports was again scrutinized based on some broad parameters and referred back to States for comments and possible corrections using software. After rectification, if any, by State Governments, data on online portal was freezed in order to generate the final tabulation reports for the National level report.  The processing of the report and generation of tables was taken up with the help of NIC in New Delhi. The State Census Commissioners can also use the software for generating micro level tables as per the tabulation reports.


The Training for the 5th MI Census commenced formally with the organisation of the All India Training Workshop for the Trainers at New Delhi in which officers from each State/UT participated. In addition, Six Regional Training Workshops were conducted for Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western, Central and the North Eastern regions covering all States/UTs. Apart from training on concepts, definitions, schedules and instruction manual, field training was also imparted to officials from State Governments/UT Administration in these Workshops.   These Workshops were attended by 3-4 participants from each State/UT who imparted the next level State trainings organised by the Minor Irrigation Census Commissioners at the State and District Headquarters in which the district level officers and block level officers/ enumerators respectively were trained.  A representative from the Centre generally participates as an Observer in some such State level trainings.   In addition, the District level officers from all the districts, State level NIC officers, State Agricultural Statistical Agency/Directorate of Economics and Statistics Head generally attend the State trainings. The details of the methodology adopted for the census, its procedure, concepts and definitions etc. are discussed thoroughly and necessary clarifications are also given in such trainings.

 Four Regional Training Workshops on Data Processing were organized in which officers from all State/ UTs were imparted detailed training on various modules of the online web-based software developed by NIC for the first time for the 5th MI Census. Suggestions/feedback received from the States/UTs in these workshops was also incorporated in the software. The State /UT level officers trained in these Workshops imparted further training in their respective States/UTs.


As a token of appreciation of work entrusted to various officials in addition to their normal duties and not as compensation or remuneration for additional work, the officials who are involved in the inspection of field work and schedules at the District/ Block levels are paid suitable honorarium which is drawn from the grants released to the States/UTs by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation for the 5th MI Census. The rates of grant towards honorarium have been tentatively decided for different administrative levels for primary enumeration and supervisory/inspection work. The honorarium for each district and Block level is fixed.  Funds for contingency are also provided for various training and meetings etc. and for printing of schedules and related documents.


The State/UT Governments submit Monthly Progress Report regarding the various phases of Census work in the prescribed Performa to the Ministry by email/ by post or by Fax. Further, Progress Monitoring module available in the online web based software developed by NIC also enabled to view the real-time progress in data entry and validation phases of Census work.  The progress of the Census work at the central level is also regularly reviewed in Weekly / Monthly meetings of senior officers in the Ministry. The key issues related to progress are also taken up with senior officers of States/UTs through Video Conferences and visits to States/UTs, apart from review meetings with officers of States/UTs in the Ministry. Review of Census field work is also an integral part of Regional Data Processing Workshops. This helps in monitoring the progress of Census work, taking remedial measures wherever called for. The States/UTs have also devised their own mechanism to monitor the flow of work regularly.