Bengal will not take part in NPR meet on Jan 17: Mamata

West Bengal will not send officials for Census, NPR meet on Jan 17: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

She also dared Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar to "dismiss" the state government for not toeing the line of the Centre. Credit: AFP

West Bengal government will not send its officials for a meeting of Chief Secretaries and state Census officials called by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday to discuss the modalities for the Census and the National Population Register (NPR).

The meeting will be chaired by Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai and attended by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla as well as Chief Secretaries and Census Directors of all states.

Officials said the meeting has been called to discuss the modalities for the house-listing phase of the census and the NPR, to be carried out from April 1 to September 30. 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that she will not be sending representatives for the meeting. West Bengal and Kerala governments have put on hold the NPR exercise and Opposition-led governments in other states are also planning to keep away from the NPR, which they say is the precursor to the contentious National Register of Citizens. 

The data for NPR was first collected in 2010 along with the house-listing phase of the Census 2011. Updating of this data was done in 2015 by conducting door to door survey. 

In 2015, the government had asked for details like Aadhaar and mobile numbers. This time, the information related to their driving licence and voter ID card will also be gathered. However, PAN card details will not be collected this time. 

Almost all states have notified provisions related to the NPR, which is a register of usual residents of the country. 

Opposition parties have now asked all non-BJP ruled states to put on hold the NPR exercise. The issue of NPR came into forefront during the protests against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act. 

The opponents argue that CAA, NPR and National Register of Citizens are inter-connected. Though the government has made it clear that NRC is not on the table as of now, the Opposition argues that the NPR is a prelude to the preparation of a citizens' registry.

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