New Delhi: Dec 25, The opposition is leaving no chance to corner the Central government over the National Population Register (NPR). Though the Home Ministry has clarified that the NPR originated in 2011 during UPA’s rule and has nothing to do with the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the Congress maintains that 2011 NPR was entirely different and the 2020 NPR is intended to lead on to the contentious NRC.
A government official, who was involved in NPR exercises in 2010 and 2015, told IANS that the NPR has nothing to do with NRC.
“The National Population Register aims to collect data on the basis of head count. The data serves the purpose of policy formation and research for the government. In both 2010 and 2015, only details of a person were asked for, and no proof was required. In NPR 2020, the process is the same. NPR does not decide citizenship,” said the official, who did not want to be identified.
According to the Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, the NPR “is a Register of usual residents of the country”, which is “prepared at the local (village/sub-town), sub-district, district, state and national level 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. A usual resident is defined for the purposes of NPR as a person who has resided in a local area for the past 6 months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more,” it added.
The objective of the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country. The database would contain demographic as well as biometric particulars.
The demographic details that every usual resident needs to provide are their name, relationship to head of household, father and mother’s names, spouse’s name (if married), sex, date of birth, marital status, place of birth, nationality (as declared), present address of usual residence, duration of stay at present address, permanent residential address, occupation/activity and educational qualification.
While the Narendra Modi government has sought to clarify that the NPR has no connection with NRC, the Congress raised questions on the government”s intentions by pointing out new additions of the criteria of information that people are required to furnish for the 2020 NPR.
In a tweet, senior Congress leader Ajay Maken said: “As MOS Home in 2010,I supervised the NPR! But Modi-Shah 2020 NPR is Totally Different. Please see 2010 & 2020 NPR Forms. 2020 Version adds: 1)Date Place of Birth of Parents 2) Last Place of Residence 3)Aadhaar ID 4) Driving Licence No 5) Voter ID 6) Mobile No.Thus, NPR2020NRC.”
Even as the protests over CAA and NRC continue, the opposition is getting ready to open a third front over the NPR, with several non-BJP ruled states ordering suspension of work on it.
(Sfoorti Mishra can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)