28th September – National Population Register – Explained

In the backdrop of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam excluding 19 lakh among the 3.3 crore who had applied, the resurrection of the National Population Register (NPR) project has added to the uncertainty around the idea of citizenship in the country.

National Population Register

What is the NPR?

  • The NPR is a list of “usual residents of the country”. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, a “usual resident of the country” is one who has been residing in a local area for at least the last six months, or intends to stay in a particular location for the next six months.
  • Unlike the NRC, the NPR is not a citizenship enumeration drive, as it would record even a foreigner staying in a locality for more than six months.
  • The NPR is being prepared under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. It is mandatory for every “usual resident of India” to register in the NPR.

How will it be conducted?

  • It will be conducted in conjunction with the houselisting phase, the first phase of the Census, by the Office of the Registrar General of India (RGI) under the Home Ministry for Census 2021. Only Assam will not be included, given the recently completed NRC.
  • The NPR exercise is conducted at the local, sub-district, district, state and national levels. The RGI has already begun a pilot project in over 1,200 villages and 40 towns and cities through 5,218 enumeration blocks, where it is collecting various data from people. The final enumeration will begin in April 2020 and end in September 2020.

What is the controversy around it?

  • The NPR has raised anxieties around the idea of citizenship in the country. Even as a debate continues on Aadhaar and privacy, the NPR intends to collect a much larger amount of personal data on residents of India.
  • The idea of conducting a nationwide NRC would only happen on the basis of the upcoming NPR. After a list of residents is created, a nationwide NRC could go about verifying the citizens from that list.
  • The NPR is also amongst a host of identity databases such as Aadhaar, voter card, passport and more that Government seeks to see combined into one card.

Is the NPR a new idea?

  • In 2009, the Home Ministry had pushed the idea of the NPR being a better vehicle because it connected every NPR-recorded resident to a household through the Census.
  • The data for the NPR were first collected in 2010 along with the houselisting phase of Census 2011. In 2015, this data was further updated by conducting a door-to-door survey.
  • The exercise to update the 2015 NPR with additional data has begun and will be completed in 2020. Digitisation of the updated information has been completed.

What kind of data will NPR collect?

  • The NPR will collect both demographic data and biometric data.
  • There are 15 different categories of demographic data, ranging from name and place of birth to education and occupation, that the RGI is supposed collect in the NPR. For biometric data it will depend on Aadhaar, for which it will seek Aadhaar details of the residents.
  • Apart from this, in a test run going on across the country, the RGI is seeking details of mobile number, Aadhaar, PAN card, Driving Licence, Voter ID card and passport (in case the resident is Indian). It is also working to update the Civil Registration System of birth and death certificates.

SourceThe Indian Express

Also read: 27th September – E-assessment

QuestionDigitisation of population records would be helpful in servicing the citizen needs more efficiently. Examine how National Population Register would facilitate good governance and national security.