T o remove the column on “place of birth of mother and father” in the proposed National Population Register (NPR), non-BJP-ruled States on Friday asked the Registrar General of India (RGI to be updated simultaneously with the Census exercise in April-September.
After a day-long conference, the RGI and the Home Ministry discussed the modalities to be adopted during the house-listing phase of Census 2021 and the NPR.
RGI and other Home Ministry officials told the State representatives that respondents could skip the questions in NPR if they wanted and answering them was not mandatory but ‘voluntary’, a senior government official said.
Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy said no one will be pressured to collect details for the NPR.
“No documents are required to be shown by people during the NPR and Census exercise. People can give the details they want to. NPR should not be linked to the National Register of Citizens (NRC),” Mr. Reddy said.
Rajasthan Chief Secretary D.B. Gupta who attended the meeting said, “Many State governments objected to the new fields (in NPR) particularly the place of birth of parents. This is impractical.
Sometimesin villages and even in cities people are not aware about their own place of birth. What is the purpose and objective of adding such a column? We asked them (Home Ministry) to remove the column. The Ministry officials replied that it was not mandatory for the respondents to provide information. If he or she wants they could deny or say that they are not aware. They cannot be forced to respond.”
A few States were represented by principal secretaries, instead of the chief secretary. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced that the State will skip the meeting but an official attended the session.
Mr. Rai said the data collected in the Census will help the country in framing policies for the welfare of the people. He also inaugurated the official ‘mascot’ for Census 2021.