Chandigarh, April 14
The houselisting operations and preparation of the national population register for the 2011 census, which starts in the city tomorrow, will be more detailed than the preceding exercise, according to Bindhyeshwari Negi, director-cum-principal census commissioner, Chandigarh.

Briefing reporters at the UT guest house here today, she urged them to play a pivotal role in encouraging the public to cooperate with the census staff as the decennial exercise was a “task of national importance”. She also appealed to city residents to provide correct and accurate information to the visiting census officials.

The headcount will be conducted in two phases in the city. The first - houselisting and housing census - will be carried out over 45 days between April 15 and May 31. The second phase - population enumeration - will be conducted from February 9 to February 28 next year. The census will cover all 26 wards of the union territory, whose current population, including that of villages, is estimated about 1,143,000.

During this period over 3,000 enumerators and supervisors will visit residents’ homes to collect information, enumerate houses and households and gather data on housing amenities and assets for assessing the conditions in human settlements. They will also collect information under the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens & Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.

The national population register (NPR) will contain details of all residents of India regardless of whether they are citizens or not. “This is important to strengthen the security of country and empower citizens for various social benefits”, Negi said. “The NPR will be the building block for the government to allot a unique identification (UID) number by the Unique Identification Authority of India," she added.

A smart card with the UID number printed on will include basic details like name, mother's or father's name, sex, date and place of birth and photograph. “The allotment of a UID number to a person will not guarantee citizenship”, said Negi, clarifying concerns about illegal residents also getting these cards.

The biometric cards can be used for diverse purposes like getting a telephone connection, passport and immigration clearance.

Negi urged city residents citizens city to “participate wholeheartedly in the exercise and to help census officials to complete the task successfully”. She added the government would offer enumerators Rs 5,500 as remuneration for the task. “Census duty is obligatory like election duty and people shouldn’t try to avoid it”, she remarked.

“Advisor to the UT administrator Pradeep Mehra will be the first person to be enumerated after the exercise gets underway tomorrow”, she said.