Centre reaches out to states on NPR, Kerala to hold all-party meeting on March 16

Centre reaches out to states on NRP, Kerala to hold all-party meeting on March 16
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New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram: The Centre on Tuesday said it was discussing with state governments the preparations for the update of the National Population Register (NPR) from April 1 to September 30.

Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said in Lok Sabha that no document will be collected during the exercise, which will be carried out along with the house-listing phase of Census 2021.

"The government is in discussion with the states having concerns in regard to the preparation of NPR. The demographic and other particulars of each family and individual are to be updated/collected during the exercise of updation of NPR. No document is to be collected during this exercise," he said replying to a written question.

Centre reaches out to States

Home Ministry sources said the central government has already started the outreach to allay the apprehensions of states by meeting chief ministers critical of the exercise.

Punjab, Kerala, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh are some of the non-BJP ruled states which have apprehensions about the NPR and critical towards the exercise.

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

As part of this outreach, Registrar General and Census Commissioner Vivek Joshi recently met Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and apprised him about the preparations for the census and the NPR.

Punjab Assembly has adopted a resolution expressing opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Joshi, who will supervise the census and the NPR exercise country-wide, is expected to meet chief ministers of all states critical of the NPR, sources said.

Several states, including Kerala, has said they will cooperate with the census exercise but not NPR.

Recently, after attending a meeting convened by the registrar general, Rajasthan Chief Secretary D B Gupta said he and the representatives of a few other states raised objections to a few questions to be asked by enumerators to people during the NPR exercise.

"We said certain questions in NPR are impractical, like questions related to the birth place of parents. There are many people in the country who even don't know what was their birth place. I don't know what is the purpose of such questions and we have told the meeting to remove such questions," Gupta said.

All-party meet on March 16

Meanwhile, the Kerala government on Tuesday said an all-party meeting would be held on March 16 to allay any confusion with regard to the census enumeration.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan made the announcement in the state assembly after some members of the Congress-led UDF raised fears that along with census, queries regarding the NPR could also figure during the enumeration.

The meeting will be held at 5pm in the state capital.

Earlier, the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front government had assured the state assembly it would not implement the NPR but would go ahead with the census process.

It had in December last ordered stoppage of all activities in connection with NPR in the state considering 'apprehensions' of the public that it would lead to the National Register of Citizenship (NRC) in the wake of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

What's NPR?

The objective of updating the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country. The database would contain demographic and biometric particulars.

The notification for the house-listing phase of census and NPR exercise came recently amid furore over the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Home Ministry sources said most of the states have notified provisions related to NPR.

The NPR is a register of usual residents of the country. It is being prepared at the local (village/sub-town), subdistrict, district, state and national levels under 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 fine of up to Rs 1,000 on those violating them.

The data for NPR was last collected in 2010 along with the house-listing phase of Census 2011. Updating of this data was done during 2015 by conducting door-to-door survey.

While updating the register in 2015, the government asked details like Aadhaar and mobile numbers.

This time, information related to driving licence and voter ID card may also be gathered, officials said, adding that PAN card details will not be collected as part of this exercise.

For NPR, a usual resident is defined as a person who has resided in a local area for the past six months or more, or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next six months.

The law compulsorily seeks to register every citizen of India and issue a national identity card.

Assam has been excluded because the National Register of Citizens exercise has already been conducted in the state.

The demographic details of every individual are required for every usual resident: name, relationship to head of household, father's name, mother's name, spouse's name (if married), sex, date of birth, marital status, place of birth, nationality (as declared), present address of usual residence, duration of stay at present address, permanent residential address, occupation, educational qualification.

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

(With PTI inputs)

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