The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi is likely to pass a resolution for the National Population Register (NPR) to be carried out as per the 2010 format, during a day-long special session of the Assembly on March 13 convened to discuss the NPR, National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the coronavirus situation in the Capital.
The Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, took the decision to convene the special session on Wednesday.
The house listing phase of Census 2021, which is to be accompanied by the NPR exercise, is scheduled to begin in areas falling under the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) on April 1. It is not immediately clear how a Delhi government stance against the NPR will impact the updation exercise in the NDMC areas, which house a large number of VVIPs, including the President and Prime Minister.
The NDMC comes under the Union government.
So far, West Bengal, Kerala, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh have made public appeals to halt the updation of the NPR, while several Assemblies have passed resolutions against the NRC. The Bihar resolution demands that the NPR exercises be carried out in accordance with the 2010 format.
During the Assembly polls campaign, Kejriwal had repeatedly questioned the need for the NRC and Citizenship (Amendment) Act, citing the economic downturn, while also terming amendments in the citizenship law as “divisive”. The AAP had also voted against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in both Houses of Parliament. However, Kejriwal had dismissed the need to pass any resolution, saying it would achieve little.
The AAP supremo has also stayed away from the anti-CAA/NRC/NPR protests in the Capital, including at Shaheen Bagh.
Sources said the Delhi government is likely to table the NPR move in the form of a government resolution, which ideally should be sent to the Assembly Secretary at least seven days in advance. However, under Rule 90, the Speaker can allow shorter notice periods.
According to Rule 92 of the Delhi Assembly, a resolution may be in the form of a declaration or in the form of recording “either approval or disapproval by the House of an act or policy of Government or convey a message or command, urge or request an action, or call attention to a matter or situation for consideration by Government or in such form as the Speaker may consider appropriate”.
The NPR, data for which was first collected in 2010 and updated in 2015, is a list of “usual residents of the country”. According to the Home Ministry, a “usual resident of the country” is one who has been residing in a local area for at least last six months or intends to stay in a particular location for the next six months.
In the 2018-19 Annual Report of the Home Ministry, the NPR was described as the first step towards implementation of the controversial NRC. Union Minister of State (Home) Kiren Rijiu had also made a similar assertion in the Rajya Sabha in 2014, while Union Home Minister Amit Shah had indicated the same in Parliament.
A Delhi government official said the updation exercise is set to begin on April 1 in NDMC areas and subsequently, during the school summer holidays, the rest of the city will be covered. Authorities had followed the same procedure during the last Census drive, two officials said.
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