Hyderabad: A notification issued by the Telangana State government on Wednesday for collecting routine information through house-listing and housing census in connection with the Census 2021 has sparked massive apprehensions amongst citizens in the backdrop of the tense atmosphere prevailing in the country, with continued protests over the National Population Register (NPR), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Though there was there was no mention about NPR in the notification, several citizens in the city opined that the Telangana government led by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao was adopting a backdoor method to implement the NPR, which would a step away to implement the NRC.
According to the notification, operations of the house listing as per the Census of India, 2021, shall take place from April 1 and continue till Septem-ber 30 this year, across India.
During the Census, enumerators would have to collect details from citizens on 31 items, which includes number of the building (municipal, local authority or census number), census house number, predominant material (of floors, wall, roof) and its condition.
The enumerators will seek details of the condition of the census house, total number of persons normally residing in the household, name and sex of head of household, whether (head) belong of household belongs to Scheduled Caste/Schedu-led Tribe or Other.
The enumerators will also ascertain whether the household had access to internet, telephone, mobile phone, smartphone besides the mobile number (for census related communications), besides questions like main cereal consumed in the house.
Many people said it was a routine affair, but they also felt that taking up the exercise in the current situation would obviously cause concerns and apprehensions amongst people.
They felt that people were worried about the NRC, after learning of the difficulties people had confronted during the NRC in Assam.
Enumerators may face people’s resistance
Many of them also opined that in the current political environment, government enumerators would face resistance from general public. Some of them felt that before details were given out, we must ask the government as to why they require so many details.
During times of growing discontent with the government, it is very important for people to learn why the government was collecting all this information and what it would do with it.
Sarasani Satyam Reddy, senior counsel, Supreme Court said that the government has a right to collect required information under the Census Act, 1948, and there were no objectionable item mentioned in the current notification. He said that the current notification had nothing to do with the NPR or NRC. A senior government official, on condition of anonymity, described it as a routing exercise under the census.
Ruling TRS party leaders refrained from commenting on the notification publicly, but in private conversations revealed that the exercise had nothing to do with the NPR and was part of an exercise under Census 2021.
BJP state president Dr K. Laxman said that there was nothing wrong in collecting information from people and was being done in the larger interest of the country. It would be useful for taking decisions and making policies to improve living standards of people.
The MIM leaders said that they will react on the notification after discussing in the party.
Congress Legislature Party leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka asked why was the government seeking so many details. Reminding people that this much data was never collected in the past from people during past Censuses, he said that it was nothing but an effort to intimidate and threaten people, and use it against those who don’t want to obey the ruling party. He said that the BJP was collecting data to intrude into the personal liberty of people and create a fear psychosis so they could rule the country for long.
Congress MP A. Revanth Reddy said that the notification was issued using a backdoor method by the BJP to take up NPR in future, and then initiate the NRC.
“It is an open secret that Prime Minister Modi and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekar Rao have a tacit understanding. Now it stands exposed after the notification of the TRS government, which will pave way for implementation of NPR and NRC in Telangana in future,” Mr Reddy said....