**Introduction**

Although the Registrar General of India has already initiated steps for the population census of 2021 at the national level, the process has not yet been started in Assam. Although the basic preliminary summary results of 2021 Census are expected to be out by the end of 2021, but it will take some more time to get district-wise population figures along with socio-economic parameters at the State level.

But this is also not likely to happen in case of Assam. Since the district-wise population figures –male and female separately – are very important statistics for district level policy making, It is proposed in this short paper to make a projection of district-wise population by sex in Assam for 2021.

**Methodology:**

Very simple and straight forward methodology is followed in the projection exercise based on the district-wise population figures of Assam for 1991, 2001 and 2011. There was a re-organisation of districts of Assam after 2001 Census, creating a number of new districts by curving out of some of the excising districts of the State in 2004. Creation of a few new districts in the State in post-2001 census period poses a problem as the population figures for these new districts were not obviously available in 2001 Census statistics.

The districts of Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup (Rural), Baksa, Chirang and Udalguri were created in 2004 (after 2001 Census). But each of the newly created districts was curved out of a number of existing districts.

Kamrup (Metro), broadly covering greater Guwahati city, was bi-furcated from exiting Kamrup district which was renamed as Kamrup (Rural). Chirang district was curved out of Bongaigaon and Kokrajhar districts. Baksa district was curved out of Barpeta , Nalbari and Kamrup districts. Similarly, Udalguri districts was curved out of Darrang and Sonitpur districts. As a result of reorganisation, population of districts of Kokrajhar, Bogngaigaon, Nalbari, Darrang, Sonitpur etc have come down in 2011 compared to 2001 for which projection of population for these existing districts as well as for the newly created districts for 2021 was a serious problem. But fortunately, enough, the Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Government of Assam, subsequently revised the population figures of the districts of Kamrup (Rural), Barpeta, Nalbari, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Darrang and Sonitpur adjusting the population of Kamrup (Metro), Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri districts for 2001 and the district-wise revised figures of population for 2001 was published in the Table – 1.03 of Statistical Handbook of Assam, 2017. (DES, 2018).

The district-wise projection of population for 2021 was computed on the basis of the district-wise compound growth rate of population between 2001 and 2011 of the respective districts adopting the usual formula

P t = P 0 (1+ r) t , ………………….. (1)

where, P t, P 0, and r represent the population of 2021, population of 2011 and the rate of growth of population between 2001 and 2011 of districts. respectively. The compound growth rate of population (r) is computed as

r = anti-log [ {log (P t) – log (P 0)} t] – 1 …………… (2)

where, t represents the time period which is equal to 10 in our projection exercise.

District-wise Population for 2021 (P t) for a particular district is finally estimated as

P t = anti log [ log (P 0) + t x log (1 + r)] … ……………. (3)

The district-wise projected population is disaggregated into male and female population by projecting the percentage of female population out of total population in 2021 by doing extrapolation taking into account the percentage of female population in 1991, 2001 and 2011. For extrapolation of the percentage of female population for 2021, we have taken the State’s overall percentage of female population of 1991 (that is, 47.98) as a proxy of the percentage of female population for the newly created districts of Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup (Rural) Baksa, Chirang and Udalguri. For extrapolation of percentage of female population in 2021, we have experimented with both the Newton’s Advancing Difference method and Binomial method (Gupta, 2005), but finally adopted Newton’s Advancing Difference method. The binomial method of extrapolation does not indicate the appropriate trend of percentage of female population for 2021 as in most of the cases the extrapolated values are less than those of 2011.

But the Newton’s Advancing Difference method of extrapolation provides a uniform trend of extrapolated values of female percentage of population.

In Newton’s Advancing Difference method, we have taken Y 0, Y 1, Y 2, and Y3 as the percentage of female population for 1991, 2001, 2011 and 2021 respectively. With unknown Y 3 and known Y 0, Y 1, Y 2, Newton’s method gives

Y 3 = {( Y 2 – Y 1) – (Y 1 – Y 0)} + Y 0

Or, Y 3 = Y 2 – 2 (Y 1 – Y 0) ………………….. (4)

The extrapolated vale of the percentage of female population for 2021 is based on the actual values of percentages of female population in 1991, 2001 and 2011 The said percentages of female population of the newly created districts, namely, Kamrup (Rural), Kamrup Metro), Baksa, Chirang and Udalguri for 1991 were not available as these new districts came into existence in 2004. The State average of percentage of female population for 1991, that is 47.98%, was taken as a proxy for percentage of female population for these newly created districts for the year 1991.

The Directorate of Economics and Statistics (DES) while revising the population figures for the newly created districts as well as the existing bi-furcated districts for the year 2001 also furnished the percentages of female population for 2001 in Table-1.03 of the Statistical Handbook of Assam, 2017. (DES, 2018).

In case of Kamrup (metro), because of unnatural big jump in the percentage of female population between 2001 and 2011, both Newton’s Advancing Difference method and Binomial method give biologically unacceptable extrapolated value of percentage of female population for 2021 as 52.24% and 54.97% respectively. In order to overcome this situation, we have adopted a simplified method assuming that the rate change (say ?) in percentage of female population of Assam during 2001 and 2011 is the same for Kamrup (Metro). Hence the percentage of female population of Kamrup (Metro) for 2021 is arrived at by increasing the percentage of female population of 2011 by the rate of change (?).

During 2001 and 2011, the rate of change (?) in percentage of female population in Assam was 1.26% and increasing the percentage of female population of Kamrup (Metro) of 2011 by 1.26% gives the extrapolated figure of 48.97% for 2021.

**Results and discussion:**

As mentioned in the previous section, the district-wise projection of population for 2021 is arrived at by expanding the population of the districts by their respective compound growth rate between 2001 and 2011 . Column (5) and column (6) in Table-1 provide the resultant figures of district-wise projected population for 2021 and decadal growth rate of population during 2011-21 respectively. . The projected population of the State for 2021 is found to be 3,66,17,242. The compound rate of growth of population of the State between 2011 and 2021 would be 1.612 % while it was 1.588 during 2001-2011. Similarly, the decadal growth of population of the State will increase to 17.34% during 2011-2021 from 17.07 during 2001-2011.

The district having the highest rate of decadal growth of population is Dhubri (24.44%), followed by Morigaon (23.34%), Goalpara (22.64) etc. while Kokrajhar district has the lowest decadal growth rate of population with only 5.20%. It appears that the immigrant dominated districts of Brahmaputra valley, namely, Dhubri, Goalpara, Barpeta, Morigaon, Nagaon and Darrang will have very high rate of decadal growth rates being more than 20 % during 2011-21. Similarly, all the districts of Barak valley, namely, Karimganj, Hailakandi and Silchar which are also infected by immigrant population will also have decadal growth rate of more than 20% during 2011-21.

It is also significant to note that all the districts of BTC (now BTR) area, namely Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri will have moderately low rate of decadal growth of around 10% along with tea and oil rich districts of Upper Assam, namely, Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, Jorhat and. Golaghat. The total district-wise projected population for 2021 is segregated into male and female population on the basis of the projected percentage of female population for 2021. As explained in the methodology section, this segregation is done by using Newton’s extrapolation technique based on the district-wise percentage of female population of 1991, 2001 and 2011.

Table -2 provides the district-wise actual percentage of female population in 1991, 2001 and 2011 and the projected district-wise percentage of female population for 2021.

Based on the district-wise projected population and district-wise percentage of female population for 2021 furnished in Table-1 and Table-2 respectively, the district-wise projected female and male population is presented in Table-3 below.

The total projected population of Assam for 2021 is estimated to be 3,66,17,242 of which male and female population of Assam are found to be 1,85,95339 and 1,80,21,903 respectively. It is also estimated that number of female population per 1000 males for the State in 2021 will be 969 while it was 935 and 958 per thousand male population in 2001 and 2011 respectively. It is found that the Udalguri district would have highest number of female population of 994 per 1000 males population while Dima Hasao district has the lowest number of females (i.e. 928) per 1000 males among all the districts of Assam.

**Concluding remarks**

The foregoing projection exercise has the following implications. First, although the preliminary aggregate population figures of Assam of 2021 Census is expected to be made public by the end of 2021, the district-wise final population figures of Assam by sex (male /female) may be made available only by the end of 2022 as the usual practice. The State Assembly election in Assam is due in the second quarter of 2021 and the new government is likely to be formed by May, 2021.

The new government is likely to initiate various socio-economic and development policies for which the district-wise population figures (sex-wise) will be required for detailed policy framing. It is expected that our projected population figures for 2021 may vary within 5% from the actual 2021 Census figures and therefore, our projection will be of immense use for policy making in the State in the post-2021 election period.

Secondly, the projection exercise depicts an alarming situation of very high population growth in the State, particularly in the immigrant dominated districts like Dhubri, Goalpara , Barpeta, Morigaon, Nagaon, Darrang in Brahmaputra valley and all the districts of Barak valley. This will not only create imbalance in socio-cultural and demographic population structure of the State, but will also adversely affect the socio-economic development of the State in future. In this backdrop, population control should be immediate and utmost priority in the agenda of the government. Rigorous and harse policy will have to be adopted for population control. As the national policy of two children norm (passed by the Parliament) is not getting desired response in the districts with high growth of population through persuasion, the only alternative for effective population control is to go for Poll Tax under which persons having the number of children more than the norm fixed by the government will have to pay heavy tax per additional child excess over the maximum number of children fixed by the government. The amount of tax will be so heavy that it should be three or four times of the annual income of the parents per child beyond the number fixed by the government. Such heavy payment of tax will definitely compel people to restrict the number of children as per the government norm. China rigorously adopted the policy of Toll Tax on persons who had more than two children and the amount of tax per additional child was six times the annual income of the persons. Thirdly, the policy of the State government of not allowing any person having more than two children to contest the local election like Panchayats, may be extended to the policy of providing government subsidies and benefits to the people by disallowing such benefits to the families having more than two children.

Finally, the State government should rigorously implement the national policy of universalisation of primary education particularly in the districts with high population growth and also take other steps to ncrease the literacy rate, particularly that of women literacy for population control in the long run.

**References:**

- Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Government of Assam, (1996), Statistical Handbook of Assam, 1995”
- Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Government of Assam, (1996), Statistical Handbook of Assam, 2017”
- S.C. Gupta, (2005)“Statistical methods”, S Chand and Sons

*By – Professor Srinath Baruah*

*Founder Vice Chancellor, *

*Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University *

*and, *

*Apratim Baruah, *

*Ph.D. student, MBA Department, *

*Gauhati University *