National Population Register (NPR) 

#GS2 #GOVERNMENTPOLICIES 

The office of the Registrar-General of India (RGI) has clarified that the schedule, or the questionnaire, of the National Population Register (NPR) is “being finalised” and the information about the expected date of the first phase of Census 2021 is “not available”. 

National Population Register (NPR)  

  • It is a Register of usual residents of the country. 
  • It is 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. 

 

Objective: 

To create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country. The NPR was first collected in 2010 and then updated in 2015. 

 

Who is a usual resident? 

A usual resident is defined for the purposes of NPR as a person who has resided in a local area for the past 6 months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more. 

 

Advantages: 

  • It will streamline data of residents across various platforms. 
  • For instance, it is common to find a different date of birth of a person on different government documents. NPR will help eliminate that. 
  • It will help the government formulate its policies better and also aid national security. 
  • It will help to target government beneficiaries in a better way and also further cut down paperwork and red tape in a similar manner that Aadhaar has done. 
  • It will help in implementing the idea of ‘One Identity Card’ that has been recently floated by the government. 
  • ‘One Identity Card’ seeks to replace duplicate and siloed documentations of Aadhaar card, voter ID card, banking card, passport, and more. 

 

Privacy Concern: 

  • There is no clarity on the mechanism for protection of the vast amount of data that will  be collected through NPR.

 

NPR and the NRC: 

  • Unlike the NRC, the NPR is not a citizenship enumeration drive, as it would record even a foreigner staying in a locality for more than six months. 
  • With the government insisting that the NRC would be implemented across the country, the NPR has raised anxieties around the idea of citizenship in the country. 
  • All this is happening in the backdrop of the NRC in Assam which has excluded 19 lakh among the 3.3 crore who had applied. 
  • NRC countrywide would only happen on the basis of the upcoming NPR. 
  • After a list of residents is created (i.e. NPR), a nationwide NRC could go about verifying the citizens from that list 
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