Ahead of the nationwide exercise for enrolment in the National Population Register (NPR), the Centre on Thursday asked district magistrates posted along the India-Bangladesh border to guard against people from across the border trying to get their names enrolled.

The NPR is to be updated from April 1.

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said there had been instances of people from across the border having tried to get themselves enrolled in the register.

“There is a danger, mostly on the India-Bangladesh border — people crossing over and [trying to] get enumerated in the NPR,” he said, addressing an all-India conference on the NPR here. India shares a roughly 4,000-km-long border with Bangladesh. Mr. Chidambaram said there are 3,331 border towns and villages, where the problem might arise. “We are cautioning our field officers to be careful while enumerating in the India-Bangladesh border.”

The exercise will cover all 35 States and Union Territories. The country's 1.2 billion citizens living in 7,742 towns, 6,08,786 villages and 24 crore households will be counted. There are indications that the 2011 census will not be caste-based as lists of Other Backward Castes were different in the States.

“Obviously, any inflated enumeration will take place only in land border. We are not talking about the east or west coast. We are talking about the India-Myanmar border and India-Bangladesh border,” Mr. Chidambaram said. However, there was not much problem along the border with Pakistan as it is mostly fenced. “There is a not a great danger along the border with Pakistan. The India-Nepal border is porous. Yes, there is some danger there too. We have to be cautious there also.”

Mr. Chidambaram said the NPR is a register of usual residents, with nationality canvassed in the form as per the declaration of the respondent, and this will not confer any right of citizenship on anyone.

During the exercise, enumerators will collect from each household details such as the number of persons living, their sex, the number of dwelling rooms and the number of married couples, the source of drinking water, the type of toilet, the fuel used for cooking and the type of floor, wall and roof, and whether anyone owns car or two-wheeler and avails himself of bank service.

Mr. Chidambaram asked the officials to do the task with utmost sincerity and dedication as there were significant differences between the normal census work and the NPR, which he said would be a path-breaking initiative for others to follow.

Minister of State for Home Ajay Maken told the officials that they could benefit from the experience of the NPR, which was already prepared in 3,331 villages in coastal areas of nine States and four Union Territories, where 85-90 per cent success was reported in the enrolment.

He said the total cost of the NPR and the census would be Rs.5,900 crore. The NPR would feature biometric parameters of a citizen, with face recognition and finger printing as added security features, he said. “The attempt will be to achieve a success rate of more than 95 per cent.”

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