India is the second largest country by population with a population count of 1.4076 billion according to the World Bank. It is just short of China, which has a population count of 1.4124 billion. However, China has been vocal regarding its ways of population management and continued focus on population growth. Because of their efforts, China reported a decline in population for the first time in over eighty years. On the other hand, India has still not conducted its census which it does at the start of every decade. Indian authorities have blamed COVID-19 for this delay, but it has been almost over a year since the country reported that it is now significantly recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, there is still no actual population count of India available for statistical organizations to take into account. Many researchers and economists believe that India must have already surpassed China as the largest country by population count.
India has spent a significant part of its modern existence under the control of British colonists and the British government. The first nationwide census was first conducted by the Britishers ruling India back in 1881. From 1881, Britishers continued doing a census in India at the start of every decade, for which the data collection part starts at the end of the last year in a decade. After getting Independence in 1947, India continued this census tradition under its newly introduced Census Act in 1948. However, the Census Act of 1948 does not specify any mandatory timeline for when the government is liable to conduct a census count. But 2021 is the first year in over 130 years when India has delayed the national census. This is because of the COVID-19 pandemic that hit the world at the start of 2020. This infection which started at the end of 2019 in China, spread across the world by March 2020. Many countries including India announced a nationwide lockdown to protect their population from the coronavirus infection. This created hurdles for the data collection process of census 2021. Throughout 2020 and 2021, India battled two waves of COVID-19, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Indians. During such tough times, India made sure that all of its resources are focused on protecting its people and managing the spread of coronavirus infection. Many believed that 2022 will be the year when India will conduct a census and will release the official population count, but nothing happened in 2022.
This lack of population data due to a delay of almost three years in population count has created many problems for the people of India. One of these problems is the irregularities in the country's public distribution system under which India distributes food and other necessities to the poor. As there is no availability of accurate population data, it is almost impossible for the Indian government to effectively distribute its food and other resources to distribute amongst its population. It has pushed the poor in India towards more problems after suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also created problems for international bodies such as the United Nations and WHO.