News Nation has learnt that the NPR exercise will be conducted between May 1st and June 15. (Photo Credit: PTI File Photo)
Amid the controversy over the Citizenship Amendment Act, Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government will carry out the National Population Register exercise in Maharashtra, sources said. News Nation has learnt that the NPR exercise will be conducted between May 1st and June 15. With this, Maharashtra becomes second state in India after Bihar that has agreed to carry out the NPR exercise. Several states have openly rejected the NPR due to its alleged link with the contentious NRC. The Opposition has termed NPR as the tweaked version of NRC. Interestingly, it has yet to be seen how Thackeray’s coalition partners – Congress and NCP – will react to the development.
Last month, Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi had announced the NPR exercise in the state. On January 4, Modi had said that the updation process of the National Population Register (NPR) will be carried out in the state from May 15 to May 28. Sushil Modi also added that administrative and punitive action would be taken against officials if they refuse to carry out the constitution mandated NPR. During a press conference, Sushil Modi had said the process of preparing NPR began in 2010 during the UPA regime which was completed between April 1 to September 30 that year. “The NPR process in 2020 will be carried out between April 1 to September 30 in the country. In Bihar it will be done between May 15 and May 28, 2020,” Sushil Modi had said.
While Bihar and Maharashtra have agreed for the NPR, Kerala and West Bengal have opposed it. Earlier, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had penned a letter to 11 non-BJP chief ministers, including his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar, regarding apprehensions over NRC, NPR.
So far, Kerala, Rajasthan and Punjab State Assemblies have passed resolution demanding the withdrawal of Citizenship Amendment Act. However, the Narendra Modi government has consistently maintained that NPR is nothing but a census of the population. Last month, the Centre had 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 in New Delhi.
The NPR is a register of usual residents of the country. It is being prepared at the local village/sub-town, subdistrict, district, state and national levels under provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955, and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. For the purposes of the NPR, a usual resident is defined as a person who has resided in a local area for past six months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next six months.
The data for NPR was last collected in 2010 along with the house listing phase of the Census 2011. The data was updated in 2015 by conducting door to door survey. The government had then asked details like Aadhaar and mobile number of residents.