New Delhi: In another issue that could snowball into a political controversy, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has said that officials from her state will not attend the meeting of chief secretaries and census directors of states to be held on Friday to finalise the modalities for Census 2020 and the National Population Register (NPR). Minister of state for home Nityanand Rai will chair the meeting which will also be attended by home secretary Ajay Bhalla.
Along with West Ben-gal, states like Kerala and some others are opposed to NPR on the grounds that it will form the basis for the nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The meeting is being held to discuss the process for the house-listing phase for the next census along with the NPR. The exercise is to be conducted from April 1 to September 30 this year across the country except in Assam.
Home ministry officials clarified that the NPR would merely be a database for “usual residents of the country” and have some demographic as well as biometric particulars. Notification for the NPR and house enumeration was issued in the wake of largescale protests across the country against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Home ministry officials claimed that most of the states have already issues the notification for NPR which is primarily a document for the “usual residents of the country”.
The NPR is being documented at different levels, like the local which comprises a village or a sub-town, subdistrict and district followed by state and then the national level under provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955, and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
These rules provide for a fine of the upto Rs 1,000 for those found to be violating the exercise.
The last data for NPR was compiled in 2010 along with the house-listing phase for the census conducted the next year, in 2011. The NPR data was further updated by conducting a door to door survey in 2015.
During the exercise for updating the register in 2015, details related to Aadhaar and mobile numbers was also collected while this time, officials added, some additional information like driving licence and voter ID card may also be gathered. However, no details on PAN card will be asked during the process.
During the NPR exercise information is collected from residents living in a particular locality for the last six months and if they intend to stay in the same area for next six months.
The NPR will collect details like name of a resident, father and mother’s name, date of birth, sex, relation with head of the household, whether married or not, date and place of birth, details of permanent address, duration of stay, educational qualification and professional details. Recently, the Union Cabinet sanctioned Rs 3,941.35 crore for the NPR exercise.