New Delhi: Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown across the country to contain the spread of coronavirus, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that the exercise to update the National Population Register (NPR) and the first phase of the Census 2021 has been deferred. Both the exercises were supposed to be carried out from April 1 to September 30. Also Read - Telangana Passes Resolution Against CAA, NRC, NPR; 'India's Image, Secularism at Stake,' Says CM KCR

“Due to the prevailing situation, the NPR and Census exercises have been deferred till further orders,” the MHA said. Also Read - '90% of us Won't be Able to Prove Our Citizenship,' Says Arvind Kejriwal as Delhi Passes Anti-NPR Resolution

The development comes after PM Modi announced a 21-day lockdown across the country from Tuesday night due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Also Read - Now, Delhi Government Moves Anti-NPR Resolution; Seeks 2010 Format For Exercise

Addressing the nation, PM Modi asserted that social distancing is the only way out for the country to fight a decisive battle against coronavirus outbreak. He also urged the people not to cross the ‘lakshman rekha’ of their homes for the next three weeks.

“If the situation is not handled in these 21 days, the country and your family could go back by 21 years. If situation is not handled in these 21 days, several families will get devastated forever,” he said.

Soon after the PM’s address, the MHA issued strict guidelines for the enforcement of 21-day complete nationwide lockdown in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

“All government offices, the offices of state and union territory governments, autonomous institutions, public corporations, commercial, private, industrial establishments shall remain closed,” the guidelines issued by the ministry said.