After Opposition-ruled states on Friday objected to questions about the “place of birth of mother and father” in the proposed National Population Register, home ministry officials said answering those questions were not mandatory, PTI reported. The National Population Register is to be updated simultaneously with the Census exercise from April 1 to September 30.

Union Home Secretary AK Bhalla and officials of the Registrar General of India convened a day-long conference to discuss the modalities to be adopted during the house-listing phase of Census 2021 and the National Population Register.

Presentations were given at the meeting about the objectives and benefits of the Census and the NPR exercise. A mobile app will be used in the Census for the first time.

Rajasthan Chief Secretary DB Gupta said he and the representatives of a few other states raised objections to a few questions to be asked by enumerators to people during the NPR exercise. “We said certain questions in NPR are impractical, like questions related to the place of birth of parents,” he told reporters after the meeting. “There are many people in the country who even don’t know what was their birth place. I don’t know what is the purpose of such questions and we have told the meeting to remove such questions.”

“The ministry officials said such questions were asked earlier also and that it was not mandatory for the respondents to provide information,” Gupta added. “If he or she wants they could deny or say that they are not aware. They cannot be forced to respond.”

The conference was also attended by Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai, the chief secretaries and Census directors of many states. A few states were represented by the principal secretary instead of the chief secretary.

No official from the West Bengal government reportedly attended the meeting.

As first reported by, the NPR is the first step to creating an all-Indian National Register of Citizens which would identify undocumented migrants residing in India. Till now, West Bengal and Kerala have suspended the NPR, while five Congress-ruled states are mulling similar action.