• 4.14.1 The issue of integrating the Livestock Census with the Agricultural Census has been raised on several occasions in the past. There are both operational and substantive gains, if the two censuses are taken together as recommended by the FAO World Census of Agricultural Programme. Several committees and workshops recommended earlier that the two censuses should be merged in order to lessen the burden of fieldwork on the primary data collection agency, reduce the total expenditure and get more meaningful data. The Eighth Conference of Central and State Statistical Organizations (1988) recommended a pilot study to evolve suitable procedures for the integration of the two censuses. Later, the National Advisory Board on Statistics in its ninth meeting (1991) agreed that there was a definite need for the integration of the two censuses and this should be done in a phased manner. In spite of these recommendations, the Ministry of Agriculture and some State Governments advanced the following reasons as to why the two censuses cannot be integrated:
    • The basic unit of enumeration in the Agricultural Census is an “operational holding” whereas in the Livestock Census it is a “household”.
    • The reference period for the Agricultural Census is one year whereas it is a specific date for the count of numbers in the Livestock Census.
    • Agricultural Census is conducted through a dual programme of census and sample survey whereas the Livestock Census is based on cent per cent coverage of all households in the country (urban and rural).
    • Different field agencies are used for the two censuses, the patwari agency for the Agricultural Census and the field staff of the State Department of Animal Husbandry for the Livestock Census.
  • 4.14.2 The Commission considers that the above-mentioned problems are not too difficult to overcome and that a satisfactory procedure can be evolved for integrating the two censuses. Like the Livestock Census, the Agricultural Census also follows the household approach in the permanently settled States where it has been possible to collect information on operational holdings through household enquiry. Even in the temporarily settled States, where the Agricultural Census is based on the re-tabulation of land records, there is an element of household enquiry to account for the details of land held by resident holders outside the village precincts. As regards different reference periods of the two censuses, the Livestock Census has never been able to adhere to the stipulation of a specific date for the count of numbers. On the contrary, the census is spread over several years. If the Agricultural and Livestock Censuses are synchronised to be taken during the same year, the livestock count could be concentrated around the specified reference date as far as possible with appropriate check of the change in numbers between the date of enquiry and the reference date. The Commission has already proposed that both the censuses be limited to a 20 per cent sample of villages, which also facilitates the process of integration. Finally, there is a definite advantage in entrusting the field operations to a single reporting agency with enough safeguards such as careful advance planning and by ensuring that the censuses are accorded the requisite priority by the State administration as in the case of the Population Census. It should be emphasised that the integration of the two censuses provides scope for several cross tabulations including distribution of livestock and farm population by the size of the land holdings. Moreover, the advantages in terms of more information, reduction of operational costs on staff training, data processing, etc. overall decrease in the work load of the field agency and early availability of the census results are other major factors in favour of the merger.
  • 4.14.3 The Commission, therefore, recommends that:
    • The Livestock and Agricultural Censuses should be integrated and taken together in a 20 per cent sample of villages.
    • Before effecting the integration of Livestock and Agricultural Censuses a limited pilot investigation be undertaken to firm up the procedures of integration.
    • The periodical National Sample Survey Organisation’s survey on land and livestock holdings be synchronised with Agricultural and Livestock Censuses in order to supplement as well as help in the crosscheck of information from the two sources.
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