Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

NPR is normal administrative activity, opposition spreading misinformation: PM Modi

ANI | Updated: Feb 06, 2020 21:35 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb 6 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the Census and the National Population Register (NPR) were "normal administrative activities" and defended additional information sought by the government in the exercise as he accused the opposition parties of creating obstacles due to "vote bank politics" and spreading rumours and misinformation.
Replying to the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President's address in the Rajya Sabha, the Prime Minister also attacked Congress and some other opposition parties over their opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Accusing the opposition of opportunism, he said that it will not do the country any good and a true situation should be told to the people.
Members of most opposition parties staged a walkout before the House adopted the Motion of Thanks to the President's address.
Modi, who spoke for over 70 minutes, cited former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia and a CWC resolution of 1947 to state that the leaders of the past had been in favour of the persecuted minorities from Pakistan getting Indian citizenship.
"Congress and some of its friends have started forgetting nation-builders for vote-bank politics," he said.
The Prime Minister, who spoke in the Rajya Sabha after his reply in the Lok Sabha, also talked about the economy and said its fundamentals were strong. He said the Budget Session of Parliament should be devoted to discussing ways to strengthen the economy.
He said the decision to revoke Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir had helped usher progress and tackle terrorism in the region.
With Congress and several other opposition parties objecting to new questions in NPR and linking it to the National Register for Citizens, Modi said the UPA government had conducted NPR exercise and small changes have been made in the census format in the past also according to the needs of the time.
He said the migration of people had increased over the time and getting information about the father of the person will help in better planning for development.
Citing an example, Modi said there were many Odia speaking people in Surat and getting information about the language spoken by the father of the immigrant will help decide how many Odia schools need to be opened.
He said the government had used the data available with it due to the NPR conducted by the UPA to deliver benefits to the poor in a targeted manner.
"The UPA implemented NPR in 2010 and started taking bio-metric data in 2011. The record of photo scans of crores of people was completed in 2014. We have the records of the NPR conducted by you and no atrocities were conducted on any person. Just because you are in the opposition, you are now seeing problems in it," he said.
Modi said the states had issued notifications for NPR exercise but some of them were raising objections now. He said that such opposition reflected "anti-poor mentality."
Targeting Congress over its opposition to CAA, Modi said those who always talk of minorities "why are they opposing provisions for those who have become minorities in the neighbourhood."
Modi referred to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's remarks that Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political wing of the Popular Front of India (PFI), had tried to foment communal trouble by intruding in protests against the CAA and asked how CPI-M could support such protests in other parts of the country.
"I can understand the compulsion of Congress. The anarchy with which you are facing trouble in Kerala, how can you support it in Delhi and other places," he asked.
With some opposition-ruled states passing resolutions against CAA, Modi asked if it is fine "to misguide and misinform the nation?" "Can anybody be a part of such a campaign," he asked.
Modi began his speech by saying that there has been a disappointment in the speeches of many members of the Upper House. BJP-led government lacks a majority in the Upper House.
"Where you are sitting, you are not moving ahead. Sometimes it appears you have gone back. It would have been good if the government had got guidance with the display of new energy and without pessimism. Perhaps you have made status quo your virtue," he said.
In an apparent reference to Congress and its allies, he said that it was for them to decide if they want to walk in the 21st century or live in 20th-century nostalgia.
Modi said he had suggested at the all-party meeting that the session should be dedicated to discussing economic issues and the country will benefit from the experience of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"There is no question of thinking small. Pessimism and gloom do not help us. We talk about a USD 5 trillion economy."
Terming the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as a major achievement for India's federal structure, Modi said the Congress could not implement it.
Modi said that as Gujarat CM, he had emphasised on making it technology-driven process and he had told then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to address the concerns of manufacturing states before rolling out the GST.
He said former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had addressed the concerns before the GST was rolled out. (ANI)