Centre May Ask Residents to Give NPR Details Online Before Enumerators Arrive

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The government has developed a mobile application for the purpose of field trials to be conducted in one block of every district

Team Clarion 

NEW DELHI — As part of its plan to conduct field trials for the controversial National Population Register (NPR) along with census, the Central government is likely to allow residents to fill columns on their own in the online form. According to a news report published in The Hindu, the government would like them to do this a month before government enumerators reach their homes.

Citing a senior government official, the report says that the resident will get a reference code after filling up the online form which they can share with the enumerator at the time of his/her visit.

The exercise will involve collecting and storing data of the residents but “biometrics or documents” would not be collected.

A previous report in The Hindu said that the government has developed a mobile application for the purpose of field trials to be conducted in one block of every district. It is expected to cover 50 or 60 households in each block. The App will have questionnaires related to house listing, house census and the NPR. “The dates for conducting the Census exercise have not been finalized yet. But the enumerators will have to be trained in using the app. Many enumerators are young schoolteachers who are expected to use the app instead of the paper schedule [form]. There will be incentives for the electronic form,” a government official was quoted by The Hindu.

However, the questions for the NPR have not been made public yet, but the pre-test conducted in 2019 included some additional questions such as the date and place of birth of father and mother, last place of residence and mother tongue, Aadhaar (optional), voter ID card, mobile phone and driving licence numbers. Opposition parties and many states have already passed resolutions against the NPR-NRC challenging additional questions in the NPR.

The NPR hit controversy in early 2020 when the then State Home Minister, Kiran Rijuju, said in the Parliament that the NPR was linked with  the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) which has been opposed by many as critics warn that when coupled with CAA will lead to disenfranchisement of Muslim residents.

The NPR along with the Census was scheduled to be conducted in April last year but it was postponed indefinitely due to the outbreak of Covid-19. After indefinite postponement of the NPR, many believed that the government had backed down in its plan to conduct the NRC exercise across India because of massive opposition to it. But the reports suggest that it is still part of the Narendra Modi government’s plan.

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