Millennium Post

Non-BJP-ruled states raise objections to NPR methodology at MHA-convened meet

Non-BJP-ruled states raise objections to NPR methodology at MHA-convened meet

New Delhi: A few non-BJP-ruled states on Friday raised objections over the new methodology to be adopted in the NPR exercise but the Central government defended the steps saying certain answers to be given by people are not mandatory but voluntary.

The objections by Rajasthan and a few other states were raised at a day-long conference convened by the Union Home ministry to discuss the modalities to be adopted during the house listing phase of the Census 2021 and the National Population Register to be carried out from April 1 to September 30, 2020.

Rajasthan Chief Secretary D B Gupta said he and the representatives of a few other states raised objections to a few questions to be asked by enumerators to people during the NPR exercise.

"We said certain questions in NPR are impractical, like questions related to the birth place of parents. There are many people in the country who even don't know what was their birth place. I don't know what is the purpose of such questions and we have told the meeting to remove such questions," Gupta told reporters after the meeting.

He said the Central government officials told them that answers to all such questions are not mandatory but voluntary and no one is going to force anyone to reply any question.

Rajasthan is ruled by the Congress, which has announced its opposition to the NPR exercise. Assemblies of Kerala and Punjab have adopted resolutions announcing their opposition to the exercise.

During the meeting, presentations were given on the objectives of the census and the NPR exercises and their benefits. Also, presentation was given on the use of mobile app, which will be used in the census for the first time in its history.

A few states were represented by Principal Secretary, instead of the Chief Secretary. No official from the West Bengal government attended the meeting, an official said.

In his inaugural address, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai put the emphasis on the need for conducting Census 2021 and the role of the states in doing the same. The minister also inaugurated the Official 'Mascot' for Census 2021.

A few state governments, including West Bengal, have declared that they will not participate in the NPR exercise now as it is prelude to a country-wide National Register of Citizens.

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