The Union Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given the go-ahead to clear the budgetary allocation for conducting the decennial Census exercise along with updating the National Population Register (NPR). Both the exercises will be conducted simultaneously through door-to-door enumeration in September 2020. The NPR exercise, which is to commence from April 2020, aims to collect biometric and demographic details of the “usual resident,” who is defined as a person who has resided in an area for the past six months or more, or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next six months or more. It is mandatory for every "usual resident" of India to register in the NPR.
- The NPR was updated in 2010 and 2015. The data for NPR was collected in 2010 along with the house-listing phase of Census of India 2011.
- The 2015 update was done by conducting door-to-door surveys. The digitisation of the updated information has been completed.
- It has now been decided that NPR will be updated along with the house-listing phase of Census 2021 from April to September 2020 in all the States/Union Territories, except Assam, according to the website of the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner. A gazette notification to this effect was issued in August last.
- The NPR will be 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.
- The objective of the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of every "usual resident" in the country.
What is NPR?
- The National Population Register (NPR) is a register of usual residents of the country being 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. Under the NPR, a usual resident is defined as a person who has resided in a local area for the past six months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next six months or more.
What is its purpose?
- NPR's purpose is to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country.
- The database would contain demographic as well as biometric particulars.
- Aadhaar, mobile number, PAN, driving license, voter ID details and Indian passport numbers are among the details that will be collected from all usual residents of India. Sharing of Aadhaar is voluntary in view of the Supreme Court ruling in this regard.
What are the demographic details required?
- Name of person Relationship to head of household, Father’s name, Mother’s name, 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, Educational qualification.
- What is the current status?
- Data for NPR was collected in 2010 during collection of data for Census of India 2011. It was updated in 2015 through a door-to-door survey.
- The digitisation of the updated information has been completed. NPR data will now be updated along with the house-listing phase of Census 2021 from April-September 2020 in all states except Assam. A gazette notification to this effect has already been published by the central government.
Why is Assam excluded
- As of now, the NPR exercise is not being undertaken in Assam. Assam recently had the NRC exercise undertaken to identify and detain illegal immigrants.
- The purpose of a pan-India NRC it to detect illegal immigrants and detain them, irrespective of faith, however there are concerns it could arbitrarily exclude genuine Indian citizens.
How can NPR data be accessed
- NPR data will not be put in the public domain but will remain a secure database accessible to the relevant user through password protected protocols.
- The government says it will use the data to enhance the targeting of beneficiary-oriented schemes and will have implications on improving internal security.