COVID-19: Census, NPR postponed till further order

COVID-19: Census, NPR postponed till further order

Representative image. (Credit: DH Photo)

The first phase of Census 2021 and the updation of National Population Register (NPR), which were to begin from April 1, has been postponed indefinitely due to the outbreak of COVID-19. 

The Phase 1 of the Census 2021, which is the House Listing and Housing Census, and updation of the controversial NPR were to begin on various dates decided by states and union territories beginning April. 

All such activities are "postponed till further orders", an official statement said citing the national lockdown. 

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The Phase 1 of the Census 2021 was scheduled between April and September this year while the second phase -- population enumeration -- was scheduled during February 9-28 next year. 

It was also proposed to carry out the updation of NPR, which had attracted opposition from non-BJP-ruled states as it was perceived as a precursor to National Register of Citizens. 

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The statement said the decision to postpone the Census and NPR exercises due to the high alert in the country due to Covid-19. 

Earlier, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking postponed of the exercise saying the priority right now is to fight COVID-19. 

Patnaik had said that all efforts of the state administration were directed towards containment of COVID-19. "As the mobilisation for Census and other concerned activities shall pose a great risk for field functionaries and people as well, I would rather suggest to postpone the scheduled Census and related activities in the country," he said in the letter. 

Earlier, several Opposition-ruled states had said that it would not conduct NPR as it is associated with the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and NRC. 

While states like Kerala, West Bengal, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Puducherry state Assemblies have passed resolutions that will not carry out NPR, Bihar and Delhi Assemblies have passed resolutions that it will allow NPR in the 2010 format only.

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