Govt's Calendar for NPR Officials Excludes Muslim Festivals, MHA Cites Census 2011 as Example
For representation: The Home Ministry office at North Block in New Delhi.
New Delhi: The Home Ministry on Sunday said enumerators of the National Population Register (NPR) will help people remember their month of birth by citing English or Gregorian calendar and important Indian festivals.
Seeking to downplay the suggestion that no Muslim festival was included in the manual for NPR enumerators, a Home Ministry official said the list of Indian festivals were included in it as per the standard of Census 2011 and NPR 2010.
This was also pre-tested for Census 2021 and NPR 2020 and no adverse feedback on this annex was ever received, the official said.
There have been queries from general public with regard to the NPR manual 2020, which, besides others, mentioned "important festivals corresponding to English/Gregorian months" for enumerators and supervisors as none of the Muslim festivals are mentioned in the list of Indian festivals there.
The official said it is to be noted that the page related to festivals is to be read along with the pages of the manual which deals with the question on date of birth.
The purpose of this page is to help the enumerators to approximate the month of birth of the respondent, the official said.
According to the manual, when a respondent knows only year of birth, the enumerators have to follow the step-wise approach.
If the respondent tells only the year of birth but is not sure about the month of birth, the enumerator has to ask whether the birth was before the rainy season or not.
If the birth was before the rainy reason, he or she may further ask whether the birth was in the month during which some important festivals like New Year's Day, Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti, Makara Sankranti, Pongal, Republic Day, Basant Panchami, Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti, Maha Shivratri, Holi, Gudi Padwa, Ram Navami, Vaisakhi, Bihu, Mahabir Jayanti, Good Friday, Budh Purnima are celebrated and estimate the month of birth.
Similarly, if the birth was during or after the rainy reason, the enumerator may probe and estimate the month of birth by asking whether the birth was in the month during which some important festivals such as Nagapanchami, Janamashtmi, Raksha Bandhan, Independence Day, Ganesh Chaturthi, Onam, Dussehra, Gandhi Jayanti, Diwali, Bhai Duj, Maharishi Valmiki Jayanti, Chhath Puja, Guru Nanak Jayanti, Ayyappa Festival, Christmas festival are celebrated.
For the convenience of the enumerators, a list of important festivals and corresponding Gregorian months in which they fall is also mentioned in the manual.
It is further mentioned that the same list was used while collecting data for Census 2011 and NPR 2010, the official said.
This was also pre-tested for Census 2021 and NPR 2020 and no adverse feedback on this list was ever received, the official said.
The government had announced that the NPR data will be collected along with the house listing phase of the Census 2021 which will be carried out from April to September 2020.
There have been apprehensions and protests in different parts of the country against the government move alleging that the NPR is the first step towards the country-wide National Register of Citizens (NRC).
A number of state governments have already announced that they would not allow execution of the project in their states.