New Delhi, Mar 4 (ANI): Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday stressed for complete coverage of the population without duplication while preparing the National Population Register (NPR).
Addressing the All India Conference of State Coordinators/ District Magistrates/ Collectors/ Deputy Commissioners on the subject of "Census of India 2011 and National Population Register, " Chidambaram cautioned that special efforts would be required to ensure coverage of vulnerable sections of the society like the elderly, handicapped, weak and marginalized.
He asked district collectors who are facing special threats to be extra vigilant.
"Nowhere in the world has a Government tried to count, identify and issue identity cards to more than a billion people. This is, perhaps, the biggest exercise of its type since humankind came into existence," Chidambaram said.
He said the task was not easy, given the vastness and complexities of the country.
"While India has considerable experience in conducting Censuses, this is the first time a National Population Register is being prepared. There are no existing models that the country can emulate. This is a path breaking initiative for others to follow," Chidambaram added.
He clarified that local officials were not required to seek proof of nationality or citizenship from each and everyone, as the NPR is a register of usual residents and the nationality being canvassed in the form is only as per the respondent's declaration.
"This will not confer any rights of citizenship on anybody. The emphasis at this stage of data collection is on inclusion, rather than exclusion," Chidambaram said.
He said there had been occasions when State Governments came up with the plea that the Census had not been conducted properly in their States, and pointed out that it was the State's own officers who conducted the Census and certified that the exercise had been conducted without omission or duplication.
The exercise will be taken up from April 1 this year involving 35 states, 640 districts, 5767 tehsils, 7742 towns, 6,08,786 villages, 24 crore households and a 1.2 billion- strong opulation.
Over 2.5 million field functionaries will be involved in the exercise. The Census is likely to cost the government Rs.2,200 crore while the NPR exercise will cost Rs. 3,756 crore. (ANI)