National Population Register

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    In News

    • Recently, the annual report of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was released.

    More about the news

    • About NPR:
      • The NPR, first prepared in 2010 and updated in 2015 by collecting information of all usual residents of the country. 
      • The report said that the NPR is prepared under various provisions of the Citizenship Rules, 2003, framed under the Citizenship Act, 1955
    • Updating NPR:
      • The report underlined the need to update the National Population Register (NPR) across the country.
        • The NPR that has a database of 115 crore residents is to be updated along with the first phase of Census that has been indefinitely postponed due to COVID-19.
      • Why?
        • In 2015, a few fields such as name, gender, date and place of birth, place of residence and father’s and mother’s name were updated and Aadhaar, mobile and ration card numbers were collected. 
        • This update to NRC is required to incorporate the changes due to birth, death, and migration for which demographic and other particulars of each family and individual are to be collected.
    • Updation through self-enumeration:
      • MHA said NPR could be updated through self-enumeration as it is proposed to allow residents to update their own data fields after following some authentication protocols on a web portal.
    • Linking with NRC & CAA:
      • NRC:
        • It has been opposed by many Opposition-ruled States as the register, according to Citizenship Rules 2003, is the first step towards the compilation of a National Register of Citizens (NRC).
      • CAA:
        • After the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) was passed, there were apprehensions that if and when a country-wide NRC is done, non-Muslims excluded from the proposed citizens’ register will benefit while excluded Muslims will have to prove their citizenship
          • The government has denied that CAA and NRC are linked
        • The report, a compilation of all the achievements and functions of the ministry, does not mention the CAA.

    National Register of Citizens (NRC)

    • A register: 
      • National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register prepared after the conduct of the Census of 1951 in respect of each village, showing the houses or holdings in serial order and indicating against each house or holding the number and names of persons staying therein. 
    • Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA): 
      • This NRC was prepared under a directive from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
    • States with NRC: 
      • At present, only Assam has such a register and the exercise may be extended to other states as well. 
      • Nagaland is already creating a similar database known as the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants.

    Citizenship Amendment Act 2019. 

    • Major Provisions of Act:
      • The 2019 CAA amended the Citizenship Act of 1955 allowing Indian citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian religious minorities who fled from the neighboring Muslim majority countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before December 2014 due to “religious persecution or fear of religious persecution”
        • However, the Act excludes Muslims. 
      • Under CAA 2019 amendment, migrants who entered India by December 31, 2014, and had suffered “religious persecution or fear of religious persecution” in their country of origin, were made eligible for citizenship by the new law. 
        • These types of migrants will be granted fast track Indian citizenship in six years. 
        • The amendment also relaxed the residence requirement for naturalisation of these migrants from eleven years to five.

    About the National Population Register (NPR)

    • About:
      • The NPR is a database containing a list of all usual residents of the country. 
    • Objective:
      • Its objective is to have a comprehensive identity database of people residing in the country. 
    • How is NPR generated?
      • House listing:
        • It is generated through house-to-house enumeration during the “house-listing” phase of the census, which is held once in 10 years. 
          • The last census was in 2011.
      • Acknowledgement slip:
        • Once the basic details of the head of the family are taken by the enumerator, an acknowledgement slip will be issued. 
        • This slip may be required for enrolment in NPR, whenever that process begins.
      • Population Register:
        • And, once the details are recorded in every local (village or ward), sub-district (tehsil or taluk), district and State level, there will be a population register at each of these levels. 
        • Together, they constitute the National Population Register.
    • A usual resident:
      • A usual resident for the purposes of NPR is a person who has resided in a place for six months or more, and intends to reside there for another six months or more.
    • Difference between NPR & census:
      • The census involves a detailed questionnaire.
        • There were 29 items to be filled up in the 2011 census aimed at eliciting the particulars of every person, including age, sex, marital status, children, occupation, birthplace, mother tongue, religion, disability and whether they belonged to any Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe. 
      • On the other hand, the NPR collects basic demographic data and biometric particulars.
      • While the census is legally backed by the Census Act, 1948, the NPR is a mechanism outlined in a set of rules framed under the Citizenship Act, 1955.

    Link between NPR & Aadhar

    • There was a conflict between the Union Home Ministry, which administers the NPR, and UIDAI. 
    • Impression was left that there was duplication of work, as both involved gathering personal particulars, including biometric data.
    • Ultimately, they agreed that both databases will exist with different objectives, and that each will use the other’s biometric data. 
    • Those already enrolled for Aadhaar need not give their biometric details again during NPR. 
    • At the same time, data captured for NPR would be sent to UIDAI for “de-duplication”
    • In case of discrepancy between Aadhaar and NPR data, the latter would prevail.

    Source: TH