The coronavirus pandemic fears have given rise to large downfalls in every sector of employment. Not only has it affected the major sectors of economy like tech and trade but also has shown its footfall in the whole economy.
It looks as though the centre is all set to postpone the house-listing Census and updating the National Population Register, which was scheduled to kick off in certain States on April 1, due to arising Covid-19 fears.
Odisha & Delhi Govt Write to Centre
It has come to light that in lines with the Odisha Govt, the Delhi Govt has too written to the Centre asking that the Census-NPR operations may be deferred by “at least one month” and the rescheduling of this exercise may be “reviewed in the last week of the deferment”.
Apparently, President Ram Nath Kovind was the 1st Indian to enumerate the census and NPR exercise but due to the coronavirus threat, he will not be conducting any meetings.
Delhi Govt wrote a letter to the Census Commissioner of India on March 18, wherein he mentioned a “high state” of alert declared in Delhi, along with the invoking of Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.
The letter also pointed out that since enumerators will have to go house-to-house to collect details for the Census-NPR, the “spread of COVID-19 may be exacerbated”.
Earlier this week, the Odisha Chief Minister too wrote to PM Modi that mobilisation for the Census-NPR would pose threat on these functionaries and a decision to postpone the two exercises be taken immediately.
In December 2019, the Centre approved over ?3,941.35 crore for updating the NPR across the country, barring Assam, and ?8,754.23 crore for conducting the Census of India, 2021.
There were revolts in multitudes against this decision to update the NPR, which is considered the basis for preparation of a national register of citizens that could potentially exclude millions of people born in India.
About 60% of the total population of India are opposing this update of NPR. Many State Assemblies have passed resolutions against the NPR and the NRC.
However, the Centre has been unfazed by the views expressed by States. As late as March 17, the Ministry of Home Affairs filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court saying that the NRC was a “necessary exercise for any sovereign country for mere identification of citizens from non-citizens”.