New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government has brushed aside objections from many states and decided to go ahead with the National Population Register (NPR) exercise according to the new parameters.
The government has told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs that these parameters were collected in 2010 too.
States like Bihar — where the BJP is a partner of Nitish Kumar and the JD(U) in government — as well as Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, have objected to the new NPR, which contains questions about the date and place of birth of one’s parents, demanding that the old format used in 2010 should be continued.
The Bihar assembly recently passed a resolution demanding that the old 2010 NPR format be used. The Andhra Pradesh government Wednesday decided to hold the implementation of NPR in abeyance until it got a response from the Centre on maintaining the NPR as it existed in 2010, with Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy saying some of the questions are “causing insecurities in the minds of minorities”.
Standing Committee’s report in Parliament
According to a report tabled in Parliament Thursday, the Registrar General of India (RGI) informed the standing committee: “All the state governments who are now raising their concerns have re-notified the intention of the central government to conduct the Census as well as NPR.
“Moreover, RGI has held meetings with state government officials, and they have notified the intention to update NPR. In addition to that, a pilot project was conducted in all the states in which more than 30 lakh people from different states have participated.”
The report states that the committee asked the government whether states have been consulted about the new parameters, and whether any effort has been made to build a national consensus.
“The ministry submitted that during the updation of NPR 2020, it is proposed to collect data on some additional items like place of last residence, mother tongue, Aadhaar number (voluntary), mobile number, passport number (if Indian passport holder), voter ID card number, driving licence number, date and place of birth of father and mother,” it stated.
“Besides, the date & place of birth of parents were collected in NPR 2010 as well for all parents who were enumerated within the household. For parents living elsewhere or expired at the time of enumeration, only the names of parents were collected. To facilitate back-end data processing and making the data items of date and place of birth complete for all household, the details of parents are being collected in a more comprehensive manner in NPR 2020,” it added.
The committee pointed out that there is a lot of dissatisfaction and fear among the people about the upcoming the NPR and Census, and asked the government to ensure the exercise is conducted smoothly.
“The committee also feels that these apprehensions should have been duly ventilated in the media. The MHA must consider some way out so that the Census goes smoothly. Otherwise, there is quite a chance of the entire process being stymied in many states,” it said.
The committee pointed out that a lot of money has already been spent collecting data under the Aadhaar project, so that should be used for the Census, “to reduce duplicacy and wastage of expenditure”. The 2020-21 Budget has allocated Rs 4,568 crore for Census 2021.
It has also recommended that “all the states/UTs should be fully convinced on various issues pertaining to the NPR which commences in April to have a national consensus so that there is absolute clarity and no apprehension among remaining people across the country which will help in conducting these exercises in a smooth manner”.