NEW DELHI: The Coronavirus pandemic is likely to hit the exercise to update the National Population Register (NPR) and the first phase of the Census 2021, scheduled to begin from April 1, with officials saying that it may be deferred for an indefinite period.
Talks are on at the highest level of the government and in all probability, the NPR and house listing phase of the Census work will be deferred till the threat of the Coronavirus is over, a home ministry official said.
A formal order is expected this week. The exercise to update NPR and the housing listing phase of the Census is scheduled to be carried out across India from April 1 to September 30.
Last week, the Ministry of Home Affairs had said the preparation for the Census 2021 and updation of the NPR were at its peak and they will begin from April 1.
The MHA said this after a conference of the Directors of the Census Operations on status of preparatory work around Census 2021 and NPR updation.
There has been opposition from several state governments to the NPR and some of the assemblies even adopted resolutions expressing reservations on the exercise.
The states which have been opposing the NPR include Kerala, West Bengal, Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Bihar.
However, most of them also said they will cooperate with the house listing phase of the Census.
The objective of the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country. The database would contain demographic as well as biometric particulars, they said.
The notification for the house listing census and NPR exercise came recently amid furore over the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The NPR is being prepared at local (village/sub-town), subdistrict, district, state and national levels under provisions of the Citizenship Act, and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules.
The data for NPR was last collected in 2010 along with the house listing phase of the Census 2011. Updating of this data was done in 2015