Centre begins outreach programme on NPR

Narendra Modi flashes victory sign after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pulled off a stunning and historic victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha battle, with the ruling party itself set to win 303 seats in a marked improvement over its 2014 showing that left the opposition dazed and demoralized. (Photo: Instagram/narendramodi)

New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) In the backdrop of protests by the non-BJP ruled states to conduct National Population Register (NPR) exercise, the Centre has began an outreach programme to meet the Chief Ministers of such regions to allay their apprehensions, officials said on Friday.

As part of the Government’s outreach programme, Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India Vivek Joshi on Friday met Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and apprised him about the upcoming Census preparations.

Punjab is among the non-BJP ruled states, including Kerala, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, which have opposed NPR expressing apprehensions about the exercise.

Joshi, who will supervise both the census and the NPR exercise countrywide, is expected to meet the Chief Ministers of all the states that are critical of the NPR, the official said.

The NPR data will be collected during the house-listing phase of the Census to be conducted from April 1 to September 30.

The Centre has already said that disclosure of information such as birth place of parents to NPR enumerators is voluntary.

The Punjab Assembly had also adopted a resolution, expressing its opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

Several states, including Kerala, have said they will cooperate with the Census operations but not the NPR.

Recently, Rajasthan and the representatives of a few other states raised objections to a few questions to be asked by the enumerators to people during the NPR exercise.

During the outreach, RGI officials will tell the states about the need for an accurate census data and the NPR, another official said.

The objective of the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country, he said, adding that the database would contain demographic as well as biometric particulars.

The Union cabinet has approved Rs 3,941.35 crore for the NPR exercise.

The notification for the house-listing census and NPR exercise came recently amid a furore over the contentious CAA.

According to home ministry officials, most of the states have notified the provisions related to the NPR.

The NPR is a register of the usual residents of the country. It is being prepared at the local (village/sub-town), sub-district, district, state and national levels under the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.

The rules have a provision for a fine of up to Rs 1,000 on those violating it.

The data for NPR was last collected in 2010 during the house-listing phase of Census 2011. It was updated in 2015 by conducting a door-to-door survey.

While updating the register in 2015, the government had asked for details like Aadhaar and mobile number.

This time, information related to driving licence and voter identity card may also be gathered, officials said, adding that PAN card details will not be collected.

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