Lok Janshakti Party leader and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday said the government would consider the demand to drop the questions about the date and place of birth of one’s parents in the proposed National Population Register, The Hindu reported.
“Even I don’t know the date of birth of my parents, forget about producing documents proving the dates,” Paswan told the newspaper. He said the government had repeatedly clarified that the production of the documents would not be mandatory.
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy also said on Tuesday that the disclosure of information during the National Population Register exercise was voluntary, PTI reported. He said state governments should not oppose the exercise as it was a constitutional obligation.
The National Population Register – a list of “usual residents” – is scheduled to be updated simultaneously with the house-listing phase of the decennial Census exercise from April 1 to September 30. “Usual residents” are those who have stayed at a place for six months or intend to stay there for the next six months.
Last week, after Opposition-ruled states objected to questions about the “place of birth of mother and father” in the NPR form, home ministry officials had said that answering those questions were not mandatory.
As first reported by Scroll.in, the NPR is the first step to creating an all-India National Register of Citizens, which would identify undocumented migrants residing in India. This has led to scepticism from states ruled by parties that are not part of the National Democratic Alliance. Till now, West Bengal and Kerala have suspended all work related to the NPR, while five Congress-ruled states are mulling similar action.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has not notified the NPR form yet. The Centre has argued that the National Population Register has nothing to do with the National Register of Citizens and is part of the Census.