"This is a super hit survey. It has been successful beyond our expectations. This is an eye-opener for those who criticised (it). I sincerely and whole-heartedly thank all the employees and students for making the survey a big success," Rao told reporters at a press conference this evening.
Seeking to defuse the controversy surrounding the one-day exercise, which aims at identifying who qualifies for state welfare schemes, Rao said, "those who tried to make it a controversy, their face has been blackened (following the success of the survey)."
"Those who tried to malign the government's intentions about the purpose of the survey, and spread apprehensions and indulged in misinformation campaign..people have slapped them," he said.
Allegations were raised about the "objective" of the survey, with certain sections saying that the enumeration drive is aimed at identifying natives of Seemandhra, the truncated state of Andhra Pradesh, staying in the newly-formed Telangana.
"I would suggest other Chief Ministers in the country to undertake this kind of survey so that the statistics can be effectively used to implement developmental and welfare schemes. This is an eye-opener even for the Government of India," the Chief Minister said.
He said that the governmental schemes can reach the appropriate beneficiaries with availability of exact data through the survey.
To a query, Rao said that the exact percentage of people participated in the survey will be known only tomorrow.
"In some districts 90 per cent people have participated till the last reports came in. In Hyderabad also it crossed 80 per cent. It may continue till late in the night," he added.
About four lakh employees of Telangana, including teachers, students and policemen, are involved in the massive exercise.
Rao said that his Andhra Pradesh counterpart N Chandrababu Naidu also participated in the survey and gave his details.
"He (Chandrababu) is a resident of Hyderabad. He also gave his family details. His nephew and cine star Junior NTR also participated in the survey," Rao said.
Rao said that the data collected in the survey will be processed in the next 15 days so that it can be used by all the government departments.
"The data collected so far has suggested that the population of Telangana may cross four crore, including those residing out of the state, as against the estimated 3.5 crore. The current estimate of households in Hyderabad was put at 15 lakh. The survey so far suggested that it may cross 20 lakh and population can be in the range of 1.2 crore," the chief minister said.
Reacting to queries that actor Pawan Kalyan refused to participate in the exercise, the chief minister said that those who do not want to be associated with Telangana state might have refused to participate in the same.
To a query on those people failing to participate in the survey, Rao said the chief secretary of the state will take a decision in this regard tomorrow.
Meanwhile, roads in Hyderabad and also in other parts of the state wore a deserted look as people chose to stay indoors to participate in the exercise, for which the state government announced holiday today.
Since the time the state government announced the survey, natives of Telangana, currently staying in different parts of the country, rushed to the state to participate in the exercise resulting in heavy rush to public transport buses and trains.
"Telangana natives living in cities like Mumbai, Surat and other places including from Gulf countries have came down to their native places for the survey," Rao said.
According to a "check slip" posted on the website of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), the data is sought from people about the number of family members in a household, water tap connection, property tax assessment, LPG & electricity connections, bank account, Aadhaar card, caste certificate, birth certificate, disability, vehicles and land owned.
The enumerators had made pre-survey visits to the households in the run-up to the main survey.
Meanwhile, the chief minister has announced a cash scheme for Muslim girls under which Rs 51,000 will be deposited in their bank accounts during their marriage.
On the survey asking people to provide details of their bank account numbers, though voluntarily, the chief minister said, "the survey asked people to provide the bank account numbers so that cash can be directly deposited into the accounts of real beneficiaries."