Friday, March 05, 2010

Home Minister stresses need to ensure complete coverage while preparing National Population Register

14:23 IST

The Union Home Minister, Shri P. Chidambaram has stressed the need to ensure complete coverage of population without duplication while preparing the National Population Register (NPR). He was addressing here today an All India Conference of State Coordinators/ District Magistrates/ Collectors/ Deputy Commissioners on the subject of “Census of India 2011 & National Population Register”. The Home Minister cautioned that special efforts would be required to ensure coverage of vulnerable sections of the society like the elderly, handicapped, weak and marginalised. He asked the Collectors of Districts that are facing special threats and border districts to be extra vigilant.

The exercise will be taken up from 1st April this year. Nowhere in the world has a Government tried to count, identify and issue identity cards to more than a billion people. This is, perhaps, the biggest exercise of its type since humankind came into existence. The Home Minister said that the task is not easy given the vastness and complexities of our country. While India has considerable experience in conducting Censuses, this is the first time a National Population Register is being prepared. There are no existing models that the country can emulate. This is a path breaking initiative for others to follow.

The Home Minister clarified that local officials are not required to seek proof of nationality or citizenship from each and everyone, as NPR is a register of Usual Residents and the nationality being canvassed in the form is only as per the declaration of the respondent. This will not confer any rights of citizenship on anybody. The emphasis at this stage of data collection is on inclusion rather than exclusion.

Shri Chidambaram said that there had been occasions when State Governments came up with the plea that the Census had not been conducted properly in their States. He pointed out that it was the State’s own officers who conducted the Census and certified that the exercise had been conducted without omission or duplication.

In his address, the Minister of State for Home, Shri Ajay Maken expressed satisfaction that before the exercise of creation of NPR begins, the country will have the benefit of experience of preparation of NPR in 3,331 villages in coastal areas of nine States and four Union Territories. He said that implementation of the project would not only help the country become more secure, but also bring about a paradigm shift in the basic governance, service delivery mechanism to the poor and monitoring of welfare schemes.

The exercise will involve 35 States, 640 districts, 5767 tehsils, 7742 towns, 6,08,786 villages, 24 crore households and 1.2 billion population. Over 2.5 million field functionaries will be involved with the exercise. The Census exercise is likely to cost Rs.2,200 crore and the NPR exercise Rs. 3,756 crore.

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