National Population Register: Questionnaire is being finalised, says Registrar General of India -Vijaita Singh

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published Published on Nov 18, 2020   modified Modified on Nov 19, 2020

-The Hindu

“The Hindu”, in a query filed under the RTI Act, sought information on the expected date of the first phase of Census 2021 and an update of the NPR.

The office of the Registrar General of India (RGI) has said the schedule or the questionnaire of the National Population Register (NPR) is “being finalised” and the information about the expected date of first phase of Census 2021 is “not available.”

The RGI response came in reply to a question filed by The Hindu under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking information on the expected date of the first phase of Census 2021 and an update of the NPR that was earlier scheduled to begin April 1, 2020. The exercise was postponed indefinitely until further orders on March 25 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NPR update and the first phase of Census-House listing & Housing Census were to be conducted simultaneously from April-September. Even though the twin exercise was to be rolled out first in Meghalaya, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) area on April 1, the RGI said in the RTI reply on November 17 that “the schedule of NPR is being finalized.”

As many as 13 States and Union Territories have opposed the update of the NPR due to its link with the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). According to the Citizenship Rules framed in 2003, the NPR is the first step towards compilation of the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) or NRC. The NPR was first collected in 2010 and then updated in 2015. Some States such as West Bengal and Rajasthan have objected to additional questions to be asked in the fresh NPR such as “date and place of birth of father and mother, last place of residence and mother tongue”.

Fears over CAA

The CAA passed by Parliament on December 11, 2019 allows citizenship on basis of religion to six undocumented communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India on or before December 31, 2014. There are apprehensions and fears that the CAA, followed by a country-wide NRC, will benefit non-Muslims excluded from the proposed citizens’ register, while excluded Muslims will have to prove their citizenship. The government has denied that the the CAA and the NRC are linked.

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The Hindu, 18 November, 2020,

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