Cabinet nod to update NPR amid NRC row

Cabinet nod to update NPR amid NRC row

The Centre on Wednesday decided to update the National Population Register (NPR), a document of “usual residents” of the country, and at the same time making an all-out effort to clearly differentiate it from the National Register of Citizens (NRC), a much-talked-about exercise that has created a sharp political divide.

Seeking to allay apprehensions about NPR, the Modi government said no proof would be sought from the people by enumerators who would visit every household in the country to update the population register.

The Union Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved Rs 3,941.35 crore for updation of the NPR and Rs 8,754.23 crore for conducting the Census of 2021.

“There is no need of any proof, document and biometric as we believe in people. Whatever you will say would be correct,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters here asserting that the NPR exercise was no different from the first such effort carried out by the UPA government under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Javadekar brushed aside questions about West Bengal and Kerala deciding not to carry out the NPR process. “All states have accepted and notified it. Some states have also started their campaign,” he said.

Home Minister Amit Shah asked opposition leaders not to spread misconceptions about the NPR exercise as they had done in the case of the Citizenship Amendment Act.

The NPR updation exercise will be conducted between April and September 2020 in all states and Union Territories except Assam, and headcount will be ready by February 2021 – the Census year.

The NPR will help in ensuring that the benefits of welfare schemes reach the intended beneficiaries, Javadekar said, adding that it will be conducted by the Office of the Registrar General of India (RGI).

Census is the largest administrative and statistical exercise in the world 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), an official statement said.

It said that 30 lakh field functionaries will complete this gigantic exercise using a mobile app for collection of data which will ensure early release of the Census report.

Several parts of the country have witnessed protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens, which a section believes was discriminatory against Muslims.

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