New Delhi: In reply to recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee Report with regard to the issue of fears associated with National Population Register (NPR) and Census, the central government said on Tuesday that “It has been clarified at various levels in Government time and again that till now no decision has been taken to create National Register of Indian Citizens (NRC).”
The committee—headed by Congress MP Anand Sharma–had in February last year observed that there is a lot of dissatisfaction and fear among the people regarding the upcoming NPR and Census. The “Action Taken” report on the same was on Tuesday tabled in Rajya Sabha.
“A 360-degree approach for communicating the right and clear message on the NPR has been planned to be followed. All kinds of media, i.e. social media, AV, Digital, Outdoor, print, and word of mouth publicity tools are part of the planned media strategy. Right kind of messaging will be done to tackle the miscommunication and rumors around NPR and Census 2021. However, in view of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Phase I of Census 2021 and updation of NPR and other related field activities have been postponed until further orders,” the government said in its action taken report.
The committee was also of the view that Aadhaar data should be used in the upcoming Census to reduce the duplicity and wastage of expenditure. To this, the government has replied that NPR and Aadhar are separate exercises with the former collecting more detailed data. “Aadhaar number has been developed as a separate database which is being used only for de-duplication purpose and authentication of beneficiaries of various Government schemes,” the government reply has said.
The Committee in its final observation has, however, noted that Aadhar already has biometric information of the individuals and so the already stored Aadhaar metadata of the individuals may be used in creating a family database for the upcoming Census and updation of NPR.
Following controversies around the NRC and the Citizenship Amendment Act, several states had said they would not implement the NPR exercise.
The Committee also flagged the slow progress of road construction in Left Wing Extremism areas of the country. It has said that out of 9,338 km sanctioned roads under Road Connectivity Project for LWE Affected Areas (RCPLWE) only 1,796 km length of roads have been completed.
“The Committee would like to know the reasons regarding abysmally slow progress in completion of these roads specially with respect to Telangana where 147 km has been completed out of 705 km and Chhattisgarh where 319 km has been completed out of 2479 km. The Committee is of the view that delay in construction of roads in most sensitive LWE areas like Telangana and Chhattisgarh is also a reason for slowing down the inclusion and development processes of these regions and negatively affecting the capability of CAPFs/ State police in tackling the LWE menace,” it said.