India plans to create biometric records of every member of its 1.2 billion population over the age of 15 in a new electronic census.
The ambitious census, supposedly the largest administrative exercise in the world, will take a year, and also see the government distribute national identity cards to every citizen.
Individuals will be classified into categories of gender, religion, occupation, and education, with their photographs and fingerprints taken. The census is conducted every 10 years, but it is the first time that biometric data has been collected. President Pratibha Patil was the first person to be listed, and appealed to fellow Indians to follow her example “for the good of the nation. Everyone must participate and make it successful,” she said in Delhi.