Economists, social scientists call for delinking of Census 2021, NPR

A file photo of Census officials in a village in 2010 | Photo: Reuters
Concerned over the linking of National Population Register (NPR) and Census 2021, 190 economists and social scientists have signed a document demanding that both be delinked. Signatories include Maitreesh Ghatak of London School of Economics, S Irfan Habib, Jayati Ghosh of Jawaharlal Nehru University, among others. 

These eminent economists and social scientists said that while Census is an important exercise and helps centre and state governments make and implement welfare schemes effectively, the widespread public distrust on NPR is dangerous. 

Here is the full text and the list of signatories:

We are economists and social scientists who are deeply concerned about the major implications for the Indian statistical system, of the attempt to combine data collection for the 2021 Census of India with that for the proposed National Population Register. 

The Census of India, which provides a basic household and population listing based on anonymous data, is an essential requirement for the country and provides the statistical basis for all assessments of the conditions of the population and for necessary social and economic policies. The Census data are also important in enabling central and state governments to exercise their basic functions and meet their responsibilities to the people. It is therefore essential to ensure that the exercise of data collection for Census 2021 is absolutely safe, comprehensive and uncontaminated by any other factors.

However, there is a real danger that the concerns around the National Population Register and the fears that are growing among substantial sections that investigators can determine whether a respondent’s citizenship is “doubtful”. This possibility has already led to widespread public distrust and suspicion about the NPR, and it is not at all clear that there are any benefits from the NPR at the present juncture. Conducting NPR along with the Census also violates Clause 15 of The Census Act 1948 that bars anyone from accessing “any book, register or record made by a census-officer in the discharge of his duty”. It also violates the provision in the same clause that “no entry in any such book, register, record or schedule shall be admissible as evidence in any civil proceeding other than a prosecution under this Act”. 

We, therefore, demand that, in order to preserve the integrity of Census 2021, it should be completely delinked from any NPR exercise. In any case, any attempt at data collection for the NPR should be abandoned at present. 

  1. A. K. Shivakumar, Economist, New Delhi
  2. A. V. Jose, Economist, Thiruvananthapuram
  3. Aasha Kapur Mehta, former Professor, IIPA New Delhi
  4. Abhijit Mukhopadhyay, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi
  5. Abhijit Sen, Former Member, Planning Commission, New Delhi
  6. Achin Chakraborty, Institute for Development Studies Kolkata 
  7. Achin Vanaik, former Professor, Delhi University
  8. Aditya Bhattacharjea, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University
  9. Ajit Karnik, Middlesex University, Dubai
  10. Alex Thomas, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru
  11. Amelia Correa, St Andrews’ College, Mumbai
  12. Amit Basole, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru
  13. Amit Bhaduri, former Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  14. Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Institute for Development Studies, Kolkata
  15. Anand Chakravarti, former Professor, University of Delhi
  16. Aneesh Correa, Pratham, Mumbai
  17. Anil Bhatti, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  18. Anirban Mukherjee, University of Kolkata
  19. Anita Banerji, University of Delhi
  20. Anita Rampal, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, New Delhi
  21. Anjana Mangalagiri, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi
  22. Anjana Thampi, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonepat
  23. Anup K. Sinha, former Professor, Indian Institute of Management Kolkata
  24. Anuradha Chenoy, former Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  25. Arindam Banerjee, Ambedkar University Delhi
  26. Arindam Dasgupta, Professor, Goa Institute of Management
  27. Arjun Jayadev, Professor, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru
  28. Ashima Sood, Indian School of Business, Hyderabad
  29. Ashok Kotwal, Vancouver School of Economics
  30. Ashwini Deshpande, Professor, Ashoka University, Sonepat
  31. Atul Sood, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  32. Avinash Mishra, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  33. Awanish Kumar, St Xavier’s College, Mumbai
  34. Balbir Singh Butola, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  35. Balveer Arora, Professor Emeritus, Centre for Multilevel Federalism, New Delhi
  36. Balwinder Singh Tikana, Professor, University of Patiala
  37. Barbara Harriss-White, Oxford University
  38. Benny Kuruvilla, Focus on the Global South, New Delhi
  39. Bharat Ramaswami, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi
  40. Bibhas Saha, University of Durham, U.K.
  41. Biswajit Dhar, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  42. C. P. Chandrasekhar, former Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  43. Chandan Mukherjee, Professor, Ambedkar University Delhi
  44. Chiranjib Sen, Azim Premji Foundation, Bengaluru
  45. Chirashree Dasgupta, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  46. D. Narasimha Reddy, former Professor, University of Hyderabad
  47. D. Narayana, formerly Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation, Kerala
  48. D. Raghunandan, Delhi Science Forum
  49. Debabrata Pal, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  50. Debashish Bhattacharjee, Indian Institute of Management Kolkata
  51. Debraj Ray, Professor, New York University, USA
  52. Deepak Malghan, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore
  53. Deepankar Basu, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA
  54. Dilip Mookherjee, Boston University, USA
  55. Dinesh Abrol, former Professor, NISTADS, New Delhi
  56. Dipa Sinha, Ambedkar University Delhi
  57. Gita Sen, former Professor, Indian Institute of Management Bengaluru
  58. Guglielmo Chiudi, former Professor Sapienza University of Rome
  59. Harsh Mander, Centre for Equity Studies, New Delhi
  60. Hema Swaminathan, Indian Institute of Management Bengaluru
  61. Himanshu, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  62. Imrana Qadeer, Distinguished Professor, Council for Social Development, New Delhi
  63. Indira Chandrasekhar, Publisher, New Delhi
  64. Indira Hirway, Centre for Development Alternatives, Ahmedabad
  65. Indraneel Dasgupta, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata
  66. Ishan Anand, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonepat
  67. Ishita Mukhopadhyay, University of Kolkata
  68. J. Mohan Rao, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA
  69. Janaki Abraham, University of Delhi
  70. Jayan Jose Thomas, Member, Kerala State Planning Board
  71. Jayati Ghosh, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  72. Jayati Sarkar, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research Mumbai
  73. Jens Lerche, University of London
  74. Jesim Pais, SSER New Delhi
  75. Joe Athialy, Centre for Financial Accountability, New Delhi
  76. John Harriss, Professor, University of London
  77. K. K. Kailash, University of Hyderabad
  78. K. N. Harilal, Member State Planning Board, Kerala
  79. K. Nagaraj, Professor, Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research, Mumbai
  80. K. P. Kannan, former Professor, Centre for Development Studies, Thurvananthapuram
  81. K. T. Suresh, Social Analyst, New Delhi
  82. K. V. Ramaswamy, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai
  83. K. Velupillai, former Professor, University of Trento, Italy
  84. Kalyani Raghunathan, Economist, New Delhi
  85. Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  86. Kamala Menon, Educationist, New Delhi.
  87. M. Vijayabaskar, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai
  88. Madhav K. Datar, Indian Banks Association
  89. Mahalaya Chatterjee, Professor, Kolkata University
  90. Maitreesh Ghatak, London School of Economics
  91. Malini Chakravarty, Economist, New Delhi
  92. Mampi Bose, Economist, New Delhi
  93. Manisha Chakrabarty, Indian Institute of Management Kolkata
  94. Manisha Jain, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai
  95. Manoranjan Mohanty, former Professor, University of Delhi
  96. Meena Gopal, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
  97. Mohan Rao, former Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  98. Mridul Eapen, Member, Kerala State Planning Board
  99. Mritiunjoy Mohanty, IIM Kolkata
  100. N. D. Jayaprakash, Delhi Science Forum
  101. Nalini Nayak, former Professor, Delhi University
  102. Nandini Manjrekar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
  103. Nandini Sundar, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University
  104. Neera Chandoke, former Professor, Delhi University
  105. Niladri Sekhar Dhar, ADRI, Patna
  106. Nivedita Menon, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  107. P. Vijayshankar, Samaj Pragati Sahayog
  108. Padmini Swaminathan, Independent Researcher, Chennai
  109. Parag Waknis, Ambedkar University Delhi
  110. Partha Ghosh, former Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  111. Partha Saha, Ambedkar University Delhi
  112. Parthapratim Pal, Indian Institute of Management Kolkata
  113. Peter de Souza, Centre for Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
  114. Prabhat Patnaik, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  115. Pradipta Bandopadhyay, Indian Statistical Institute Kolkata
  116. Prasenjit Bose, Economist, Kolkata
  117. Praveen Jha, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  118. Protiva Kundu, Economist, New Delhi
  119. Pulapre Balakrishnan, Ashoka University, Sonepat
  120. Pulin Nayak, former Professor, Delhi School of Economkcs, Delhi University
  121. R. Nagaraj, Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research, Mumbai
  122. R. Ramakumar, Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
  123. Ragupathy Venkatachalam, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK
  124. Rahul Roy, Professor, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi
  125. Rajendran Narayanan, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru
  126. Rajesh Bhattacharya, Indian Institute of Management Kolkata
  127. Rajiv Jha, University of Delhi
  128. Rajni Palriwala, Delhi University
  129. Rakesh Basant, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
  130. Rama Baru, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  131. Ramana Murthy, University of Hyderabad
  132. Rammanohar Reddy, Editor, The India Forum
  133. Ranjit Nair, independent scholar, New Delhi
  134. Ratan Khasnabis, former Professor, University of Kolkata
  135. Ravinder Jha, Delhi University
  136. Ravinder Kaur, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi
  137. Reetika Khera, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
  138. Renu Khanna, Sahaj, Vadodara
  139. Ritu Dewan, former Professor, University of Mumbai
  140. Ritu Priya, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  141. Rohit Azad, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  142. Roma Chatterji, University of Delhi
  143. Romar Correa, Former RBI Professor of Economics, University of Mumbai
  144. Ritu Menon, Publisher, New Delhi
  145. Runa Sarkar, Indian Institute of Management Kolkata
  146. S. Irfan Habib, former Professor, NUEPA, New Delhi
  147. S. Krishnaswamy, Former Professor, Madurai Kamaraj University
  148. S. Krithi, Tata Institute of Social Studies Hyderabad
  149. S. Subramanian, former Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies
  150. Sachidanand Sinha, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  151. Samira Nadkarni, St Andrews’ College, Mumbai
  152. Santosh Verma, Tata Institute of Social Studies, Mumbai
  153. Sarmishtha Pal, University of Surrey, U.K.
  154. Sashi Kumar, Asian College of Journalism, Chennai
  155. Saumya Chakrabarti, Viswabharati University, Shantiniketan
  156. Sebastian Morris, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
  157. Shiney Chakraborty, Institute of Social Studies Trust, New Delhi
  158. Shiva Sikdar, University of Surrey, U.K.
  159. Shruti Ambast, Economist, New Delhi
  160. Smita Gupta, Economist, New Delhi
  161. Snehashish Bhattacharya, South Asian University, New Delhi 
  162. Sona Mitra, Economist, New Delhi
  163. Sripad Motiram, University of Massachusetts at Boston, USA
  164. Stefano Zambelli, University of Trento, Italy.
  165. Subhanil Chowdhury, Institute for Development Studies Kolkata
  166. Subrat Das, Economist, New Delhi
  167. Sudha Vasan, University of Delhi
  168. Sudip Chaudhuri, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram
  169. Sudipta Bhattacharya, Viswabharati University, Shantiniketan
  170. Sugata Ghosh, Brunel University, London
  171. Sumangala Damodaran, Ambedkar University Delhi
  172. Sumeet Gulati, University of British Columbia, Canada
  173. Sumit Sarkar, former Professor, Delhi University
  174. Sunanda Sen, Former Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  175. Surajit Das, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  176. Surajit Mazumdar, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  177. Sushil Khanna, former Professor, Indian Institute of Management Kolkata
  178. Tanika Chakraborty, Indian Institute of Management Kolkata
  179. Tanika Sarkar, former Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  180. Taposik Banerjee, Ambedkar University Delhi
  181. Uma Chakravarti, former Professor, Delhi University
  182. Utsa Patnaik, Professor Emerita, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  183. Vamsi Vakulabharanam, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA
  184. Venkatesh Athreya, former Professor of Economics, Chennai
  185. Vibhuti Patel, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
  186. Vickram Krishna, privacy and technology expert, Mumbai
  187. Vikas Rawal, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  188. Yoshifumi Usami, Tokyo University, Japan
  189. Yuko Nikaido, Musashi University, Tokyo, Japan
  190. Zoya Hasan, Professor Emerita, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi


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