The Registrar General of India (RGI) has asked all States to “give highest importance, attention and time” to the Census and National Population Register (NPR) work as “the foundations of the statistics of the country” depend on them.
In a 14-page letter, dated January 29 and addressed to all the Directors of Census Operations (DCOs) in the States, Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India Vivek Joshi said, “The district level officials must be reminded of the importance of the census work and on ensuring that a clear message is sent to the charge officers to give the highest importance and attention (as well to devote sufficient time) for the House Listing and NPR work , on the results of which depend the foundations of the statistics of the country.”
The decennial census exercise will be conducted in two phases — House Listing and Housing Census from April to September 2020 and Population Enumeration from February 9 to February 28, 2021.
Centre has proposed that the next phase of NPR will be conducted along with the first phase of Census between April to September 2020.
On Sunday, the Uttar Pradesh government kick-started the process — the Census/NPR exercise will be conducted in the State from May 16 to June 30. U.P has seen violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the legislation’s link with the countrywide National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register (NPR).
According to Citizenship Rules 2003, NPR is the first step towards compilation of the NRC, though the government informed Parliament on February 4 that “till now, the government has not taken any decision to prepare National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) at the national level.”
On Monday, the official Twitter handle of Census India said “division level meeting & training for #CensusIndia2021 & updation of NPR” was held in Lucknow. “All the Collectors of Lucknow division & other census officers were present in the meeting. The Director urged functionaries to complete the Census operations & NPR updation with full devotion & within given timeline,” the tweet said.
N.S. Pandey, DCO Uttar Pradesh told The Hindu that they have received the schedule of Census and NPR. “There are 34 questions in Census proforma and 14 questions in the NPR. The exercise will be conducted through a web based mobile application. NPR is only being updated, no new register is being created. Giving Aadhar details (for NPR) is voluntary. If you look at the schedule, it mentions that providing information (in NPR) is voluntary.” Mr. Pandey said.
Similar meetings were held in Goa, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya in the past one month.
The “pretest” or the trial NPR form collected details from 30 lakh respondents last year on 21 parameters, seeking specific details on “place of birth of father and mother, last place of residence” along with other information like Aadhar (optional), voter ID card, mobile phone and driving license numbers. The new NPR form, for the first time, is also expected to collect information on “mother tongue”. In 2010 and 2015, NPR collected details on 14 parameters.
Many State governments have objected to new fields in NPR such as “the place of birth of parents” as sometimes in villages and even in cities people are not aware about their own place of birth.
West Bengal government has demanded repeal of CAA and NPR, and Kerala communicated to the RGI that NPR should be halted citing maintenance of “public order”.