The Andhra Pradesh government is planning to carry out the exercise to update the National Population Register (NPR) between April and September this year. This, even as protests have been going on across the country against the NPR and the Centre's controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
In a Government Order (GO) by Principal Secretary Shashi Bhushan Kumar to all District Collectors, Principal Census Officers and Municipal Commissioners, the state government said that the NPR exercise had to be carried out for a period of 45 days as part of the Census of India 2021.
The order said that "in view of a number of apprehensions and doubts being expressed in various quarters with respect to the conduct of NPR exercise," it was issuing clarifications to the officers, for "easy dissemination to all concerned".
"People are not required to submit any document to the enumerators during the NPR exercise. Enumerators are just required to record whatever answers are given by the people and not to press for any further answers to any query if they do not intend to give and also not to ask for any document," the order clearly stated.
The GO further said, "All the officials involved in NPR exercise, from the enumerators onwards, are being trained to the effect that there is no requirement of submission of any document by the people during the NPR exercise nor is there any requirement to insist on answers to any query if people do not intend to answer."
The order also asked the District Collectors to ensure that the clarifications are issued during the training classes for Census functionaries.
The National Population Register is a register of residents in the country, which contains demographic and biometric details.
In December last year, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy said that his state would not support the Centre's National Register of Citizens (NRC). Incidentally, NPR forms the legal framework for NRC.
The statement by Jagan had come after his party had drawn flak for their decision to support the BJP-led Centre on the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), helping it pass Parliament, to become the CAA.
After West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee declared that NPR will not be implemented in the state, the Kerala Cabinet also said that it will inform the Centre that Kerala will not be updating the NPR, as there are concerns that the data collected for NPR would be used to implement NRC in India.