As the country braces for National Population Register (NPR), Tripura has already started preparations for collecting data. A team of nearly 11 thousand people will be deployed to work on NPR mechanism in the state, part of which is already functional. The data will be collected in Tripura from May 16 to June 29, 2020.
While the Registrar General of India has allowed mobile app and paper survey schedule for collecting NPR data in the first phase and online-based self-enumeration in the second phase, the official informed that the Tripura State Level Census Coordination Committee headed by Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar has decided to go for the mobile app only. The decision is in line with Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s announcement last year where he said that the mobile app for 2021 census operation would be a transformation from paper census to a digital census.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Director of Census Operations in state PK Chakraborty said, “NPR data will be collected as a part of the Census operations. It will be collected in Tripura from May 16 till June 29 this year. We shall conduct house listing and housing census in this phase. The second phase will comprise actual census operation next year”.
The state-level census coordination committee convened in its second meeting on Thursday and set a host of targets for the NPR operation including training and capacity building for personnel and work allotment targets.
Asked if the app-only operation would pose risk of faulty entry, late updation due to low Internet connectivity in hilly terrains or subject the data to risk, the official said the new method would instead help in faster data finalization since digital data would be relatively easy to handle and share with the central authorities.
“In case of locations like Jampui Hills along the Tripura-Mizoram border or other distant locations with poor Internet connectivity, our enumerators can always enter the data from the spot and later upload when Internet connectivity is restored”, Director Chakraborty said.
The NPR operations in Tripura would comprise a team of nearly 11,000 officials and personnel including an estimated 9062 Enumerators, 1556 Supervisors, 9 Principal Census Officers, 81 Charge Officers, Additional Charge Officers.
Sixteen master trainers were already trained at Administrative Training Institute in Kolkata last month on the procedure. Meanwhile, 169 field trainers are being selected, who would undergo training from the master trainers from April 06-10 at Agartala.
Appealing people to cooperate during the NPR data collection process, Director Chakraborty today said, “NPR is a regular exercise which was earlier done in 2010-11 and was updated in 2015. This data will be further updated through the exercise this year. No confusion should be there at all. I appeal all households to cooperate when our enumerators go from door to door in May and June”.
Tripura has a population of 35.73 lakh as per the 2011 census reports. However, NPR data from 2010 shows the state’s population figures much less, since personnel engaged with law enforcement, para-military and security agencies were not covered by the exercise.
Census data would be collected in two phases across India. The first phase is scheduled to commence from April and continue till September this year. This phase would include house listing and housing census to identify ‘usual residents’, a term applicable for anyone residing in a place for at least six months and has intention to stay more. Population enumeration, which is the main mandate of the Census operations, would be held from February 09-February 20, 2021.
NPR data was first surveyed in the country in 2010; biometrics collected from Aadhaar was later seeded in the data in 2015. The 2010 NPR questionnaire contained 15 questions. While there were controversy regarding new questions being included in the list, state Census Director Chakraborty informed that certain queries were freshly added as sub-sections in existing questions but the questionnaire has no separate questions and NPR survey would be collected through a 14-point survey schedule.
Though NPR is subsidiary to census operations, the difference between the two is that the census data is inaccessible by the government and is governed by a confidentiality clause. So, the new queries about country of birth of respondents’ parents, their mother tongue and inclusion of AADHAR, driving license, EPIC card, mobile number details have given rise to apprehensions.
As per the current NPR questionnaire, respondents are required to furnish details about the date of birth and place of birth of their parents, including a clause where data is sought about country of origin, if they are not from India.
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