India has begun the world's biggest head count

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

NEW DELHI (AP) - Think of it like the American census – only about four times bigger.

The Indian government has started what it calls the world's largest administrative exercise -- a yearlong count of its more than one billion people.

Some 2.5 million census-takers have started canvassing every residence from tin shanties to skyscrapers in 630,000 villages and 5,000 towns.

Part of the goal is to photograph and fingerprint every Indian above the age of 15 and issue the first national identity cards in India's history.

Most Indians are in favor of the cards, which will cut down on the need for multiple identification papers and make receiving services easier.

India has the world's second-biggest population of about 1.2 billion people, behind China. But the number is growing more than twice as fast as China's each year.

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