The provisional data for the 2021 Census and National Population Register will be available before the next General Election in 2024, The Hindu reported on Tuesday, quoting information provided by the Union home ministry to a parliamentary committee.

The first phase of the Census and updation of the NPR, which was scheduled to take place between April and September last year, was postponed indefinitely in March 2020, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The last Census was conducted in 2011 and NPR, that has a database of 119 crore citizens, was last updated in 2015, according to The Hindu.

The ministry said that the fieldwork for first phase of census will be carried out during the financial year 2021-’22, while the population enumeration phase will be conducted during 2022-’23, The Times of India reported. However, the timelines for the processes are yet to be finalised.

The provisional Census results will be released in financial year 2023-24, according to The Hindu.

The Centre is likely to allow residents to fill columns in National Population Register forms on their own through online method, a month before door-to-door Census enumeration begins, according to a separate report by The Hindu.

The home ministry, in its reply to the parliamentary panel, also said that the NPR database has been created by collecting family-wise data and it can be enhanced by linking Aadhaar to each family member, The Hindu reported. The ministry said that “consolidated details of a family” are not available through Aadhaar and “a family structure” cannot be created without visiting the houses and collecting information on relationships between family members.

The NPR is also the first step to creating an all-India National Register of Citizens which would identify undocumented migrants residing in India. On December 24, 2019, the Centre had approved Rs 3,941 crore for updating the NPR across the country and Rs 8,754.23 crore for conducting the 2021 Census.