NEW DELHI: The updating of the National Population Register (NPR) and the first phase of the Census 2021 have been postponed due to the 21-day lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, officials said on Wednesday.
Both the exercises were supposed to be carried out from April 1 to September 30.
In a statement, the home ministry said Census 2021 was scheduled to be conducted in two phases -- house listing and housing census during April-September and population enumeration during February 9 to 28.
The updating of NPR was also proposed to be done along with the Phase I of Census 2021 in all the states and union territories, except Assam.
The home ministry said due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, high alert has been declared by the Centre as well as the states and union territories.
Keeping in view these issues, the first phase of Census 2021 and updating of NPR, which was to begin on various dates decided by the state and union territory governments beginning April 1 and various related field activities, are postponed until further orders, the statement said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown across the country from Tuesday night due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Officials said since the census and NPR exercise require the enumerators to visit every household and meet people, such exercise is not possible to carry out due to the prevailing situation.
Therefore, the decision to postpone it has been taken by the government, the officials said.
The home ministry had recently said the preparation for the Census 2021 and updating of the NPR were at its peak and will begin from April 1.
There have been opposition from several state governments to the NPR and some of then even adopted resolution expressing their to 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.