oppn parties NPR Form: Disclaimer Will Not Do, Remove The Controversial Questions

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  • PM Modi tells BJP workers that India is in for a long battle against the coronavirus and there is no scope to feel tired or defeated
  • PM Modi asks ministers to focus on exports and new areas and sectors
  • PM Modi asks ministers to prepare business continuity plan post the lifting of the lockdown
  • Corona cases in India cross 4000 and the death toll stands at 124
  • The government decides to double the testing of corona suspects from 10000 now to 20000 in the next three days
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  • Although it was obvious, but the government still clarifies that there is no need to switch off appliances and only lights need to be switched off on April 5 at 9pm after confusion in the minds of some people
  • PM Modi and President Trump decide "to deploy full strength of (Indo-US) partnership" to fight against COVID-19
  • 17 states have reported 1023 cases of coronavirus linked to the Tablighi Jamaat, which translates to 30% of all positive cases in India
  • The government says people should not use alcohol-based hand sanitizers before lighting diyas or candles on April 5
  • The railways say there is no certainty yet when services will resume after the lockdown and a final decision will be taken in the next few days
  • As coronavirus cases multiply in Assam, six north-east states seal their borders with the state
  • Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (POCOSO) putting all systems and protocols in place at war-footing to ensure there is no grid failure due to reduction in demand on April 5 at 9 pm
  • Power ministry scotches rumours that the power grid might fail due to the 9-minute blackout called by PM Modi on Sunday, April 5
  • Centre asks people to wear home-made masks if it is absolutely essential for them to step out of homes
26 nurses and 3 doctors test positive for COVID-19 at Wockhardt Hospital in Mumbai, facility cordoned off, no entry or exit permitted from the hospital
oppn parties
NPR Form: Disclaimer Will Not Do, Remove The Controversial Questions

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-02-03 12:28:17

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

The government has said that the NPR forms will now carry a disclaimer that no harm will be done if a respondent does not fill in the columns asking for details of the date of birth and place of birth of one's parents. This has been decided after the BJP allies put a lot of pressure on the government and also after negative feedback was received from the grassroots. While this is fine and addresses a huge issue that led to the opposition to the NPR process, one fails to understand why the government cannot just erase the two or more columns that ask for these questions?

It is simply a matter of trust. This government, by changing the NPR questionnaire and including such questions that led a huge number of people into believing that it was designed as a first step for the allegedly more devious NRC, has lost the trust of the people in this matter. Hence, it is difficult to believe that any disclaimer will be taken on face value. There will always be a doubt in the minds of the people that leaving the columns blank will have repercussions in the future.

Home Minister Amit Shah has reportedly said that deleting the controversial questions will be problematic at this stage. While one is not sure what problems he is referring to, if it relates to the reprinting of the huge number of forms and the related costs and logistics of collecting them from various locations and then sending them back again, it needs reminding that the same will have to be done even if the disclaimer is to be printed. The best way would have been, to save the cost of paper, to run a thick black line over the controversial questions. And should we really be worried about costs when the matter is so important to a huge number of our people and especially when we have already wasted more than Rs 3000cr in Assam conducting the NRC which has led us nowhere? 

Just printing a disclaimer will not prevent the enumerator from asking the said questions to the respondents. The mistrust and doubts will continue in the minds of the people if the questions remain on the forms, even with the disclaimer. Further, it will also not be proper if some respondents answer the questions while others do not as it will lead to an incomplete register. Hence, the government will do well to delete the said questions from the form and win the trust of the people. Only then should it undertake the NPR process.