THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : The State Cabinet in its meeting held Monday decided to inform the Registrar General and Census Commissioner attached to Union Home Ministry, about Kerala’s refusal to undertake National Population Register or National Register of Citizens surveys.
The decision was imperative given that, the Constitution requires government to alleviate fears or concerns its people might have. The State shall however cooperate with collecting Census data.
The exercise towards National Population Register (NPR) eventually leads to preparation of National Register of Citizens(NRC). This prospect has raised grave concerns among people. Compiling NPR and NRC would lead to instability and chaos in the State. The situation in States that undertook these surveys, serve as examples.
The police department submitted a report indicating there could be law and order crisis if NPR survey is made to happen.
Also, the District Collectors have expressed fear that the Census process itself might be hampered if there is attempt to conduct NPR survey alongside. Given all these and more, the State government has moved Supreme Court contesting the constitutional validity of CAA under Article 131.
The government brought to halt all activities related to renewing the National Population Register(NPR), This followed a consensus arrived at the meeting called by the Chief Minister on 29 Dec, comprising leaders of varied political parties, heads of communal organisations and members from social organisations.
The meeting discussed at length, the widespread anxiety among people, following which a special session of Legislative Assembly was summoned to pass resolution demanding that the Centre scrap the controversial CAA that rans against the Constitution. Shortly thereafter, the government approached Supreme Court challenging that law.
Meanwhile, the cabinet also passed the Draft Bill towards reorganizing and increasing the number of Wards under local self-government bodies. To effect this, suitable changes were incorporated into the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act and the Municipality Act.
Once the Bill finds approval to become law, all Wards in the State would be reorganized to comply with 2011 census. This would result in addition of one ward under each local self-government body culminating in 1749 new wards and take the Divisions tally to 23,649.
The Opposition’s claim that re-organisation of wards is a hasty decision, is baseless. A committee headed by Principal Secretary to determine boundaries of new constituencies. was formed back in 2018.
The Committee’s activities were delayed owing to two major floods that hit the State and the intervening Lok Sabha Elections. The Committee in its recommendations to the government, asked for setting up of new panchayats and also handed a list of 118 panchayats. However considering the costs involved and the letter from Census Director, the govt dropped the plan.
Following this, it was decided to reorganise Wards and reset constituency boundaries. Presently Wards exist based on both 2001 and 2011 census. Reorganising will put an end two this double parameter.