Central govt. on 24 December 2019 has cleared a scheme for updating the National Population Register at a cost of Rs. 3,900 crore. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that form or schedule to collect data for NPR update has not been finalized yet. Home Minister Amit Shah said that there is no link between NPR and National Register of Citizens (NRC). The images of National Population Register (NPR) Form 2020 circulating on social media are fake.
NPR Form 2020 seeking details like place of birth of father and mother is of bogus nature as schedule or forms preparation are still in initial stages. Congress leader Manish Tewari tweeted an image of NPR-2020 saying that “NPR will be raw Data of NRC” and elements of NRC are smuggled into NPR.
Amit Shah clarifies that NPR is register of population, NRC is register of citizens. He asks if both NPR & NRC are some, that how it is relevant to ask whether my parents were born in India or aborad.
National Population Register (NPR) Form 2020 Fake
Union Cabinet has approved National Population Register (NPR) update for the financial year 2020. The NPR exercise was firstly conducted in 2010 and subsequently updated in 2015. Previously, NPR collected details on following 15 parameters – 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 and educational qualification.
The NPR pretest form was used to collect data from 30 lakh people in September 2019 for National Population Register on trial basis. This NPR Form had additional columns like place of birth of father and mother, last place of residence, Aadhaar number, voter ID card number, mobile phone number and driving licence number. The pretest form circulating on social media was used during trial stage of NPR and final schedule is prepared after taking feedback from respondents.
Before carrying out the final exercise next year, the central govt. wants to provide training to enumerators and also seek feedback from those surveyed. On the basis of these feedback, govt. will decide the contents of final NPR Form. The mistaken National Population Register 2020 which is trending on social media appears of the type as shown below:-
As Minister of State for Home, Ajay Maken earlier supervised the NPR data collection process in 2010 who now said that NPR 2020 is totally different. The new form adds Date & Place of Birth of Parents, Last Place of Residence, Aadhaar ID, Driving Licence No, Voter ID, Mobile No which is similar to NRC.
No Supporting Documents in National Population Register (NPR) 2020
NPR, a pan India exercise excluding Assam will seek information regarding date and place of birth of usual resident mother and father. It will also take info. like Aadhaar, Passport, Driving Licence and Voter ID. A usual resident is defined as a person who has resided in an area for past 6 months or more or who intends to reside in that area for next 6 months.
Data will be recorded as declared by respondent and no proof or supporting documents would be sought. Sharing of Aadhaar, Passport, Driving Licence and Voter ID will be made voluntary and PAN details won’t be sought. No biometrics would be collected during NPR though the same can be sourced from UIDAI if needed on the basis of Aadhaar. NPR was last prepared in 2010 along with Census 2011 followed by updation in 2015.
National Population Register Background
The Citizenship Rules of 2003 clearly states that central govt. by means of issuing an order can decide date to prepare NPR. The Union govt. can even provide for creation of NRC which would flow from data gathered in NPR. As per the rules, a person’s citizenship status would be decided by local officials that whether a person figures in NRC or not. No new law or rules are needed to conduct this exercise across the entire nation. Cabinet committee has approved Rs. 3941.35 cr to update NPR which would be collated along with House Listing and Housing Census of decennial exercise from April to September 2020. Decennial signifies a process which occurs in every 10 years duration.
Central govt. has given information to Parliament on multiple occasions since 2014 about National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC). NRC would be created on the basis of information collected under NPR by verification of citizenship status of all individuals. Previously, Sh. Rajnath Singh had given directions to take NPR project to its logical conclusion which is creation of NRIC. NPR was created to extend various beneficiary schemes to people as the data collected under the census exercise could not be shared with states or any other government agency.
PM Modi vs Opposition on NPR & NRC
PM Narendra Modi claims that there is no discussion held on NRC till date and NPR is a separate exercise for which govt. has approved budget. Opposition parties slams PM Modi’s statement and alleges that NPR is the first step to NRC. Home Minister Amit Shah claims that information obtained through NPR could not be used for NRC and that the Union Cabinet had not ever discussed NRC. He also said that there is no need to create background for NRC as it is ought to be done in India as promised in BJP manifesto.
After the passing of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) by Indian Parliament on 11 December 2019, there were widespread protests against CAA. These protests against CAA and NRC resulted in killing of more than 20 people in Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Karnataka. The CAA allows citizenship on the basis of religion to undocumented non-Muslim communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India on or before 31 December 2014.
There are apprehensions and fear among Muslims that CAA followed by a nationwide NRC would benefit non-Muslims excluded from NRC exercise. It is inferred by some people that people from all communities would get citizenship while Muslims would be expelled from the country after NRC exercise. However, central govt. clarifies that CAA and NRC are not linked to each other.