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'Inaccurate' census worries Goa Church

Catholics could lose out on program funding, warns council director

'Inaccurate' census worries Goa Church
India Post has released a commemorative stamp for the census
Bosco de Sousa Eremita, Panaji

February 28, 2011

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The Church in Goa has alerted the authorities that the ongoing census is ignoring many people from the western Indian state who work overseas or offshore. “All these Goans are excluded from the population enumeration process while the migrant population currently in Goa is included,” Father Valeriano Vaz, director of the diocesan Council of the Social Justice and Peace, said yesterday. An inaccurate census will deprive Catholics of several government schemes, he added. “The government may later cite the census and claim that since the population of Catholics is small there’s no need for any specific scheme or funds. We may not be included in any government planning in future,” Father Vaz warned. The priest has written to the New Delhi-based Census General Registrar and Commissioner that the once-a-decade exercise would result in “inaccurate” information about the state’s population. The enumerators do not count Goans who work either in the merchant navy or on offshore oil rigs on a rotation basis. At the same time they register migrant labourers in Goa who have forced the local people to seek jobs outside the state or overseas, Father Vaz explained. The inclusion of the floating migrant population as residents of Goa would affect the state’s demographic framework and distort facts, the priest warns. The enumerator’s forms have no slot for listing people, most of them Catholics, who have lived most part of their life in Goa but are now forced to work outside. In the last census in 2001, Catholics accounted for 26 percent of Goa’s 1.3 million people. ID13447.1643
An inaccurate census will deprive Catholics of several government schemes, he added. “The government may later cite the census and claim that since the population of Catholics is small there’s no need for any specific scheme or funds. We may not be included in any government planning in future,” Father Vaz warned.
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