In the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak, the Centre on Wednesday announced to postpone the first phase of Census 2021 and the National Population Register (NPR) exercise.
The exercise slated to begin on April 1 this year has been "postponed until further orders", the office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner announced.
The department under the Ministry of Home Affairs said that the decision was taken to break the transmission of the deadly novel coronavirus which has claimed 10 lives so far in India. Over 562 confirmed cases have so far been reported.
The announcement comes a day after the Prime Minister announced a complete lockdown across the country for 21 days from Tuesday midnight.
The Census 2021 was scheduled to be conducted in two phases. The Phase I related to house listing and housing census was to be taken up during April-September 2020 while the Phase II was for population enumeration from February 9 to 28, 2021.
The updation of NPR was also proposed to be done along with the Phase I of Census 2021 in all the states and Union Territories, except Assam.
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the Home Ministry had earlier declared high alert and it was followed by the states and UTs.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued guidelines for strict implementation of the measures to be taken by the ministries and departments of government of India and state and UT governments for the containment of coronavirus.
Lockdown has also been declared by many states and UT governments. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued advisories for various precautionary measures, including social distancing.