The Indian government has told the Lok Sabha that every Indian is legally bound to reply census queries.

The Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday that all requisite steps are being taken to carry out the census and the National Population Register exercise smoothly.

Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said the state governments appoint census officers to help in or take part in the census exercise under the provisions of the Census Act 1948.

“Every person is legally required to answer the census questions in order to provide accurate data.

“All requisite measures are taken with the support of the state governments to conduct the census and NPR exercise smoothly,” he said in a written reply to a question.

The housing listing phase of the census and the exercise to update the NPR were scheduled to be carried out across the country from April 1 to September 30, 2020 but were postponed due to Covid-19 outbreaks.

According to the earlier schedule, the reference date of the census was March 1, 2021 and October 1, 2020 in snow-bound Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.

The census operation is still on hold and the government has not yet announced a new schedule.