Coronavirus Outbreak: Census 2021, NPR updation postponed after nationwide lockdown

The Centre on Wednesday said the first phase of Census 2021 and updation of National Population Register, which was scheduled to start from April 1 this year. 

The decision was taken after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday declared a nationwide lockdown in view of the coronavirus outbreak in India. 

The Census 2021 was scheduled to be conducted in two phases, with phase I to be conducted during April-September, 2020 and phase II during February 9-28, 2021.

While House listing & Housing Census was part of phase I,  Population Enumeration was to be done in the second phase. 

The updation of NPR was also proposed to be done along with the Phase I of Census 2021 in all the States and UTs, except Assam.

"Due to the outbreak of corvid-19 pandemic, high alert has been declared by the Government of India as well as the States/Union Territories. The Ministry of Home Affairs vide order dated 24th March, 2020 has issued Guidelines with the directions for their strict implementation, on the measures to be taken by the Ministries/Departments of Government of India and State/Union Territory Governments for containment of COVID-19 Epidemic in the country. Lockdown has also been declared by many State/UT governments. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India has issued advisories for various precautionary measures, including social distancing," the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a press release. 

"Keeping in view the above, the first phase of Census 2021 and updation of NPR, which was to begin on various dates decided by the State/UT governments beginning 1st April 2020 and various related field activities, are postponed until further orders," it said. 

Last year, the passage of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the NPR and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) triggered massive nationwide protests which continued till this week. Delhi's Shaheen Bagh, which became the epicentre of the CAA-NRC-NPR protest, was cleared by police on Tuesday after the announcement of lockdown by the Arvind Kejriwal government. 

Protests in other parts of the country had also cleared out in last week as the number of coronavirus cases started to rise. With the imposition of nationwide lockdown on Tuesday, all protests have effectively been cleared out.