President Kovind is likely to issue a statement about the significance of the NPR after enrolling under the exercise. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
Even as the controversy rages over the citizenship laws, the Narendra Modi government will kick off the national Population register update from April 1st. To popularise the exercise and counter the Oppositions’ allegations of ‘NPR is NRC’, the Modi government plans a mega enrolment exercise that will begin from the heart of Lutyens’s Delhi. The first resident to be enumerated under the NPR will be none other than President Ram Nath Kovind, a Times of India report said on Monday. Apart from him, other dignitaries who will be enrolled under NPR on same day will be Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The TOI report said that the Office of the Registrar of India has sent out letters seeking time of the President and the Prime Minister. The report says that the Modi government will go all out to publicise the NPR. Several Cabinet minister will be enrolled during a public ceremony. The report also said that President Kovind is likely to issue a statement over the significance of the NPR after enrolling under the exercise.
Kerala and West Bengal are two states that have said that they will not join the NPR exercise. The data for NPR was last collected in 2010 along with the house-listing phase of the Census 2011. Updating of this data was done in 2015 by conducting door to door survey. While updating the register in 2015, the government had asked for details like Aadhaar and mobile numbers. This time, the information related to their driving licence and voter ID card may also be gathered, the officials said, adding that PAN card details will not be collected as part of this exercise.
For the purposes of 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. The law compulsorily seeks to register every citizen of India and issue a national identity card.
The NPR exercise will be carried out between April and September 2020 in all states and UTs, except Assam, along with the houselisting phase of the census exercise.
Assam has been excluded because the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise has already been conducted in the state. The demographic details of every individual are required for every usual resident: name, 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, educational qualification. The Union Cabinet has approved Rs 3,941.35 crore for the NPR exercise.
Opposition including AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi have accused Narendra Modi government of misleading people on the issues of Citizenship Act, National Population Register and National Register of Citizens. Earlier, in an exclusive interview with News Nation, Owaisi said that NPR and NRC are two sides of the same coin. Asaduddin Owaisi explained his stand on various issues including the violence during the anti-CAA protests and his reasons for opposing NRC and NPR.
When asked about Home Minister Amit Shah's claim that NRC and NPR were not linked, Owaisi said there was no difference between NPR and NRC. "I am telling you that NPR and NRC are two sides of a coin. The rules of NPR and NRC are the same," he said.
"These rules have been made as per the Citizenship Act, 1955 in which NPR and NRC are there.. if NPR is done in this country, NRC would also be done," Owaisi claimed.