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Census Microdata

P.K. Sudarsan
Professor

Dept. of Economics
Additional Info.


Workstation for Research on Micro Data from Census


Background

The Directorate of Census Operations vision and determination to disseminate wealth of information gathered in the form of census data to the academic community and the general public at large for research and other related activities has resulted in establishing the first workstation at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi on an experimental basis.

The workstation at JNU has been a great success in terms of the interest it generated among the academic community and the response it received. Enthused by the performance of workstation at JNU, Dr. C. Chandramouli, IAS, RGI and Census Commissioner of India has envisaged an ambitious plan under the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) to disseminate census data. Subsequently, it was decided to set up the workstations at 18 Universities/institutions throughout the country.

The initiative to host the Census Data Workstation was taken by Goa University in response to the invitation received from Shri A. K. Wasnik, IAS, Director of Census Operations, Goa. Accordingly, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for setting up the workstation was signed on 26 March 2013 by Mr. Mallikarjuna, Joint Director, Directorate of Census Operations, Goa (Left in the photo) and Prof. V.P. Kamat, Registrar, Goa University (Right in the photo). It was honourable Vice-Chancellor, Goa University, Dr. Satish Shetye, whose support and supervision made the workstation a reality and it was inaugurated on 7 March 2014 by Dr. Satish Shetye.

Objective

The objective of setting up microdata station is to permit qualified researchers optimum use of anonymized sample microdata from census for in-depth research. Workstation enables the researchers to have access to micordata which is not published by census. Interestingly, this facility would be available to all including those who are not part of the University system.

Confidentiality

The Census Act 1948 stipulates that the information given by any respondent at the census is to be treated as confidential. Therefore, it is important to protect the confidentiality by masking the location and a few sensitive fields. After anonymising the record level data, the data set is made available for in depth research at workstations.

Restrictions

Workstation does not permit the researchers to take out or copy the data. The researcher would be allowed to process the sample micro data using the software available in the workstation and generate the tables for use. Only computer print out of the tables so generated will be allowed to be taken out of the work station.

Procedure

The indented user of workstation has to submit a proposal to the Steering Committee stating details of his/her research project and requirements. The steering committee will meet regularly to examine the research proposals received at the workstation and accord permission for use, if found suitable. The facilities available at the workstation will only be open to researchers whose research proposals have been accepted and approved by the steering committee.

Rules

The specific rules approved by Goa University, Goa, and ORGCI, New Delhi for the users of Workstation for microdata from Census:

  1. The facility at the workstation for micro data will be available to all Individuals for research and academic purposes with the prior approval of the Steering Committee constituted for the same.
  2. Those who desirous to use this facility should apply to the Convener, Steering Committee in prescribed form at least 3 weeks in advance along with the research proposal. However, the students and researchers from Goa can avail the facility on any working day.
  3. Once the research proposal is approved by the steering committee the same will be communicated to the applicant and the applicant can inform faculty in charge the date and time of his/her arrival.
  4. The facility at the workstation will be available on all working days and from 9.45 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. However, if they need any assistance from the staff the same has to be informed in advance.
  5. The users of this facility have to produce their identity card/letter from the Principal/ Director/ Head of Department/ Research Guide.
  6. The users of this facility are not allowed to copy the data from the computer. They can prepare summary tables, summary statistics or any kind of statistical results using STATA software. The results can be taken in print form using the printer installed in the Lab and for which a nominal charges have to be paid.
  7. The steering Committee will meet at least once in a month provided there are research proposals for approval or else it will meet once in three months.
  8. The outstation candidates have to arrange their travel, s by their own. However, the accommodation can be provided to the users at the University Guest House, if rooms are available.
  9. The users have to take utmost care in using the facility and any damage to computer, printer or any item in the l ab they will be held responsible.
  10. The users have to enter, at the entry and exit time, and sign the register with address, Mobile no. and e-mail ID.