The National Population Register got an approval in the key meeting of the Narendra Modi Cabinet, sources told News Nation on Tuesday. The decision can further aggravate the attack by the Opposition parties, which are already against the government’s decision to implement the Citizenship Law. The Modi Cabinet has allocated Rs 8,500 crore for updating the National Population Register. However, with current debate over citizenship, the NPR exercise will also draw lots of attention. While the government sources maintain that it is a usual exercise and shouldn’t be seen in context with CAA-NRC debate, several Opposition leaders have already slammed the entire exercise. Many are seeing it is an attempt by the Modi government to launch the NRC exercise.
On Monday, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi took to Twitter to give a point-by-point explanation of what he thinks the Modi government will do with the NPR. “NPR is first step of the National Register of Indian Citizens, which is the other name of nation-wide NRC. It’s important to understand the link between NPR & NRC,” Owaisi said in a detailed Twitter thread.
“NPR is a collation of all ‘usual residents’ living in India. Under the Citizenship Rules, 2003, a National Register of Indian Citizens is to be produced after filtering citizens from non-citizens How is this filtering done?,” the Hyderabad lawmaker added.
“First a local officer “verifies” the list & issues notice to “doubtful citizens” from list of local residents. These “doubtfuls” must now prove their citizenship. Following this, a draft list is published. If you think your inclusion in the draft list is enough, it’s not,” Owaisi said in the third tweet of the thread.
Sounding alarm, Owaisi further said that, “Because the rules permit objections to the inclusion of any name on the list. Presumably, anyone can file an objection The decision of your Indianness is made by an officer summarily.” He also added that “NPR also collects sensitive personal information of every Indian, including passport details (~5.5% of Indians have passports).”
The data for National Population Register was collected in 2010 along with the houselisting phase of Census of India 2011. This data was updated during 2015 by conducting door to door survey. The digitisation of the updated information has been completed. Now it has been decided to update the National Population Register along with the Houselisting phase of Census 2021 during April to September 2020 in all the states/UTs 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 this year.
"In pursuance of sub-rule(4) of rule 3 of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, the central government hereby decides to prepare and update the Population Register.... "...and the field work for house to house enumeration throughout the country except Assam for collection of information relating to all persons who are usually residing within the jurisdiction of Local Registrar shall be undertaken between the 1st day of April, 2020 to 30th September, 2020," said the notification.
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. It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.
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.
(with inputs from PTI)