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Disclosure of information in NPR voluntary: MoS Home Reddy

Disclosure of information in NPR voluntary: MoS Home Reddy

New Delhi: Amidst strong opposition by some non-BJP ruled states, the Centre on Tuesday made it clear that the disclosure of information in the National Population Register (NPR) exercise is not mandatory but voluntary.

Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said the NPR was first initiated by the Congress-led UPA in 2010 and it was a constitutional obligation.

"Disclosure of information in NPR is voluntary only," he told reporters here. Reddy said since NPR is a constitutional obligation, state governments should not oppose it. He said the states were constitutionally bound to undertake NPR exercise, which had already been notified by the Centre and renotified by all the states.

The minister also said the Central government will keep sensitising states about various aspects of the NPR exercise that will be carried out along with the house listing phase of the Census 2021 from April 1 to September 30, 2020.

Reddy pointed out that the Telangana government had in 2014 conducted an integrated household exercise, Samagra Kutumba survey, and sought far more intrusive information from residents of the state, including their bank account details, medical history etc, but no questions were raised.

"No questions were raised then by politicians like (Asaduddin) Owaisi. This shows that the opposition to NPR is largely politically-motivated," he said. A few state governments have declared that they will not participate in the NPR exercise, saying it is prelude to a countrywide National Register of Citizens (NRC).

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has appealed to her counterparts in the North-East and non-BJP states to carefully study the NPR form, its questions and criteria before taking a decision on updating it.

Dubbing the exercise as "a dangerous game", Banerjee said the form, which seeks birth details and residential proof of parents, was nothing but a precursor to the NRC.

The Kerala government has announced that it will implement the census exercise but will not cooperate with the NPR.

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